Panama City temple celebrates Hanukkah

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Thursday at sunset begins the fifth night of Hanukkah for the those of the Jewish faith.

Hanukkah is an eight day celebration signifying the re-dedication of the second temple during the second century B.C. During the re-dedication, oil was found that was only expected to last one day, but it lasted eight.

Hanukkah and all Jewish holidays are based on the lunar calendar, which means all holidays begin and end at sunset.

Each night of Hanukkah, a different candle on the menorah is placed and lit to celebrate the oil lasting, for a total of eight candles at the end of Hanukkah.

“We light the latest candle … to welcome the newest one and it’s just a festive holiday. Oftentimes we’ll celebrate by eating fried foods, fried in oil of course,” Temple B’Nai Israel president Robert Goetz said.

Those fried foods include latkes, or potato pancakes, and deep fried doughnuts. The oil also signifies the oil found in Jerusalem.

Temple B’Nai Israel shares a building with Unity Spiritual Center after Unity’s building was heavily damaged during Hurricane Michael. Goetz says both sides have gained a deeper understanding of the other’s religion.

“By understanding one another’s religions, we become better at understanding our own religion, we become a stronger, more vibrant congregation and community,” Goetz said.

Temple B’Nai Israel hosted a Hanukkah celebration earlier this week. While there won’t be anymore Hanukkah events at the synagouge, the Temple posts events on its Facebook page and website.

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