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6.12.12

The Light of Chanukah is Spreading

Victoria, BC:  The Gulf Islands are warming this winter with the Light of Chanukah spreading through public menorah lightings at the BC Provincial Legislature, Victoria City Hall, Duncan City Square, Nanaimo City Hall, Courtenay City Hall, Campbell River City Hall and Salt Spring Islands Ganges Centennial Park. These festive events are open to the public. 

A Message from the Premier:
 "As Premier of the Province of British Columbia, I am very pleased to welcome everyone to the celebration of Chanukah and the lighting of the largest public Menorah at the British Columbia Legislature.
This is always a wonderful 8-day celebration for Jews and the general public as we reflect on the meaning of Chanukah a festival of rededication. British Columbia is an example to others of how we can learn from each other and strengthen our families, society and economy through the backgrounds, experiences and knowledge of others. The experience of a Chanukah celebration through the lighting of candles, brings to light some of the interesting history, rituals and commitments of the Jewish people. It is a special recognition of miracles and wonders, and reminds us all of the importance of respecting and valuing our past and appreciating all that life has to offer."
Enjoy the celebration and Happy Chanukah to everyone.
~ Sincerely, Christy Clark Premier

A Message from Rabbi Meir Kaplan, Director, Chabad Vancouver Island
 "It is wonderful for our community to experience the support being demonstrated by the Provincial Government and the Mayors of our participating municipalities in marking Chanukah this year."
  
Sunday, December 9th, 2012 - 3:30 pm - BC Legislature Front Steps
The Honourable Ida Chong, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
The Honourable Ida Chong, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation (MLA Oak Bay-Gordon Head) will join the British Columbia Jewish community on the second night of Chanukah to mark the celebration in the province with the lighting of a large public menorah at the front steps of the Legislature of British Columbia.
The entire community is invited to join in during the official lighting ceremony of the eight foot tall public Menorah and enjoy Sufganiyot (Israeli jelly donuts), dreidels, chocolate gelt and the sounds of Chanukah music provided by 5th (BC) Field Regiment Canadian Military Brass Band!
The 5th (BC) Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery Band is an authorized band of the Canadian Forces Primary Reserve. It is the Land Forces resident military band in the provincial capital of Victoria, the only Reserve Military Band on Vancouver Island, and has the distinction of being the oldest continuously operational military band organization in western Canada. 

Monday, December 10th, 2012 - 10:00 am - City of Victoria
His Worship Mayor Dean Fortin, City of Victoria
Join His Worship Mayor Dean Fortin for the annual City of Victoria, City Hall Menorah Lighting in the Mayors Office, sending Happy Chanukah greetings to the citizens of Victoria. Each year, the Mayor of the City of Victoria takes the opportunity to mark and celebrate Chanukah at City Hall by lighting a menorah and eating Sufganiyot (Israeli jelly donuts).

 Monday, December 10th, 2012 - 3:30 pm - Duncan City Square Stage
Councillor Joe Thorne, City of Duncan
The entire community is invited to join in during the official lighting ceremony of the eight foot tall public Menorah and enjoy Sufganiyot (Israeli jelly donuts), dreidels, chocolate gelt and the sounds of Chanukah music.
"On behalf of Council and the Citizens of Duncan, I would like to offer best wishes to the Jewish community as it celebrates the lighting of the largest public Menorah at the front steps of the Legislature on the second night of Chanukah. We are very fortunate to live in a place where people can embrace their cultures and traditions freely and with pride. Councillor Joe Thorne is delighted to be participating in the third annual Duncan Public Menorah Lighting at Duncan City Square Stage on December 10th. Best Wishes to the Jewish Community and Happy Chanukah."

 Mayor Phil Kent, City of Duncan
"On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Cowichan Valley Regional District I am pleased to wish the Jewish Community and everyone in the Cowichan Valley, Happy Chanukah. During the Festival of Lights may your home be blessed with love, laughter and happiness."

 Rob Hutchins, Chair, Cowichan Valley Regional District
Monday, December 10th, 2012 - 6:00 pm - Nanaimo City Hall

Helen Lunney, for Dr. James Lunney, MP Nanaimo - Alberni
The entire community is invited to join in during the official lighting ceremony of the eight foot tall public Menorah and enjoy Sufganiyot (Israeli jelly donuts), dreidels, chocolate gelt and the sounds of Chanukah music.
"On December 10th, you are coming together for this 3rd Annual Menorah Lighting to celebrate the festival of light. With the beginning of this festival of light, celebrated at the darkest time of the year, we often think of peace and giving, and are reminded to not only give now but throughout the year. It is about ensuring that no one is left hungry, that no one is left in the cold, and that we are working towards peaceful resolutions to conflicts throughout the world.  These are the values that are important to us in our community. We are fortunate to have a supportive, thoughtful, and giving community, where community members feel safe and respected. It is this spirit that is encompassed by Chanukah. During this holiday season and festival of light, I wish you and your family a peaceful and happy Chanukah."
 Jean Crowder, MP Nanaimo-Cowichan 

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 - 3:30 pm - Courtenay City Hall
His Worship Mayor Larry Jangula, City of Courtenay 
The entire community is invited to join in during the official lighting ceremony of the eight foot tall public Menorah and enjoy Sufganiyot (Israeli jelly donuts), dreidels, chocolate gelt and the sounds of Chanukah music.
"On behalf of Courtenay Council, please accept our warmest wishes for the celebration of Chanukah.The Comox Valley is an inclusive community with a wide variety of cultures and beliefs. This ceremony is an important ritual and symbol of religious freedom that can be appreciated by anyone, regardless of one�s faith. I am honoured to be lighting the Shamesh candle on the Menorah at City Hall. Happy Chanukah to all Comox Valley residents celebrating the Festival of Lights."
~ Mayor Larry Jangula, City of Courtenay.  

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 - 6:00 p.m. - Campbell River City Hall 
His Worship Mayor Walter Jakeway, City of Campbell River
The entire community is invited to join in during the official lighting ceremony of the eight foot tall public Menorah and enjoy Sufganiyot (Israeli jelly donuts), dreidels, chocolate gelt and the sounds of Chanukah music. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 3:30 p.m. - Salt Spring IslandGanges Centennial Park
Wayne McIntyre, Electoral Area Director, Salt Spring Island, Capital Regional District 
The entire community is invited to join in during the official lighting ceremony of the eight foot tall public Menorah and enjoy Sufganiyot (Israeli jelly donuts), dreidels, chocolate gelt and the sounds of Chanukah music.
"As the Electoral Area Director for Salt Spring Island it is my pleasure to extend best wishes to the Jewish community. As a festival of rededication, it is a time not only to celebrate their faith but also for people to strengthen their family and community ties as well as reinforce their values and beliefs. We are fortunate on Salt Spring Island to be a part of a diverse multicultural community that recognizes and celebrates our many blessings as an important part of our lives. It is encouraging to know that people of many faiths embrace their culture and traditions with such pride in ceremonies such as the lighting of the Menorah. Happy Chanukah and Hag Sameach to everyone!"
~ Wayne McIntyre, Electoral Area Director, Salt Spring Island, Capital Regional District
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Media Notes: Pre or post event interviews or photo opportunities are available, please contact Mary Ann Watson at (250) 217-1491.

Media Contact:
Rabbi Meir Kaplan 
Chabad of Vancouver Island 
Cell: (250) 858-6770

Chanukah Background: 
Chanukah is a Jewish holiday, also known as the Festival of Lights. Chanukah is a Hebrew word meaning "dedication". Chanukah celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, of spirituality over materiality. It begins on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, and the holiday is celebrated for eight days. Since in Jewish tradition the Hebrew calendar date starts at sunset, the first evening of Chanukah starts after the sunset of the 24th of Kislev. This is usually the evening before the date shown for the first day of Chanukah on the Gregorian calendars that include it. The start of Chanukah usually falls in December but occasionally is in late November.

Chanukah commemorates two main historical events: Firstly, the triumph of Judaism's spiritual values as embodied in its Torah (symbolized by the Menorah) over Hellenistic civilization, which had attempted to Hellenize the Jews away from practising Judaism's commandments.

Secondly, the victory of the ancient Jewish Hasmoneans over the Seleucid Empire when Judah Maccabee and his brothers defeated overwhelming forces and rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem, almost two centuries before the common era. However, because Jews do not glorify war and because of Judaism's dislike for the Hasmonean later ungodly behaviour, the holiday has never emphasized these military aspects but has concentrated on celebrating the rededication and the associated miracle of the Chanukah lights as described in the Talmud. 

The festival is observed in Jewish homes by the kindling of special Chanukah lights on each of the festival's eight nights. Chanukah customs include eating foods fried in oil - latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (doughnuts); playing the dreidel (spinning top on which is inscribed the Hebrew letters, nun, gimmel, hei and shin, an acronym for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, a great miracle happened there); and the giving of Chanukah gelt, gifts of money, to children.

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