Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, celebrated in State Capitol

TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Topeka Jewish Community celebrated Hanukkah Monday evening at the State Capitol with Governor Laura Kelly and Secretary of State, Scott Schwab.

The welcome was given by Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel, the message was given by Rabbi Mendy Wineberg. Governor Laura Kelly and Secretary of State Scott Schwab lit the Menorah.

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The evening ceremony was sponsored by Chabad of Kansas which is the regional headquarters of the global Chabad movement. It offers Jewish education, outreach and social service programming for families and individuals of all ages, backgrounds and affiliations.

The festival of Hanukkah, or Chanukah as it is more traditionally known, celebrates the ancient victory of the Maccabees, a small band of Jewish fighters, against their Greek Assyrian oppressors, in their struggle for religious freedom in the Land of Israel. In commemoration of these events, the Menorah is kindled on each night of Hanukkah, with one light being added each night.

In contemporary America, Hanukkah is a time for families to celebrate together by lighting a home ‘Menorah’ (candelabra), playing ‘Dreidel’ (a Chanukah top) and sharing holiday foods, including the traditional ‘Latkes’ (fried potato pancakes).