MAUI (HAWAII) — The first day of Hanukah is Sunday, Nov. 28, and Rabbi Mendy Krasnjansky with Chabad of Maui said across the state, on almost every island, there will be small candle-lightings taking place to celebrate this festive week.
“The truth is Hanukkah in Hawaii is really like Hanukah everywhere else,” explained Mendy.
Rabbi Mendy said he was born and raised on Oahu but recently moved to Maui to develop Jewish activity on the island. He said their goal is to actualize a vision to allow the Jewish community to have a space to connect with their faith and heritage.
“So, we specifically are located in Maui, but I can tell you there’s Chabad of Maui, Chabad on the Big Island, Chabad on Oahu and Chabad on Kauai, and each of those do something that’s called a public menorah lighting,” said Mendy.
Starting on Sunday, this eight-day holiday — also known as the Jewish festival of lights — will begin, which will honor the rededication of the second temple in Jerusalem during the second century B.C. following victory over the Syrians.
Mendy also stated it is usually celebrated with the nightly lighting of the menorah. He said the menorah is one of their signature pieces.
“First of all, on the first night of Hanukkah, we light the first one, and then, successfully, the second, third fourth, fifth, sixth,” Mendy explained. “The first lesson we learn from the message of Hanukkah is that we have to increase in the light.”
According to Mendy, Hanukkah could be considered a festive time of the year with candle-lightings, deep-fried food and jelly-filled doughnuts.
He said, along with all the fun food and festivities, this time of year is really all about spreading light, as well as learning and remembering lessons.
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“Each one of us is a small light, and well, Hawaii is one of the most isolated landmasses in the world, but the good that we do is shown even brighter,” said Mendy. “Right, like the actions that we do when there is just a handful of us, can spread even farther.”
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT