Temple Concord's annual Hanukkah House Museum will re-open in November 2014.
The story behind Hanukkah:
In the year 175 BCE, Antiochus IV Epiphanes was crowned the new Selucid emperor. An unstable man, he dreamt of expanding his empire and launched unsuccessful military campaigns in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Angered by his defeats in Egypt, he plundered the treasuries of the Temple of Jerusalem in 169 BCE in his vassal state in the land of Israel. Conflict with the Jewish community quickly escalated. In 167 BCE, Antiochus outlawed the practice of Judaism and profaned the Temple of Jerusalem by bringing idols and swine into its sacred precincts.
The spirit of rebellion rose across the land. Led by Hasidim, ancient Jewish Pietists, initial resistance against the Selucids failed until Mattiathias, a priest from the Judean Village of Modi’in raised the banner of revolt. His son, Judah the Maccabee, emerged as the military leader of the insurrection. A military genius, Judah’s early victories quickly brought the Maccabean army to the gates of Jerusalem.
Judah Maccabee and his soldiers liberated the Temple of Jerusalem and rededicated the sanctuary on the 25th day of Kislev (in the Jewish Calendar) in 164 BCE. A talmudic legend recalls that the Selucids had desecrated all but a tiny vile of oil, enough for only one day’s supply for the Temple’s eternal light. A miracle occurred and the light burned for eight days. A festival to celebrate the restoration of Jewish independence, freedom of religion and the miracle of the lights was proclaimed and is called Hanukkah or “Dedication (of the house)”.
For almost 22 centuries, Jews have continued to celebrate the victory of the Maccabees by lighting the Hanukkah menorah, for eight nights beginning on the 25th of Kislev. It is a celebration of the few over the many, the weak over the strong, light over dark and hope over despair.