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The community is invited to a public Hanukkah candlelighting and celebration, sponsored by Congregation Beth Sholom of Citrus County, beginning at 6 p.m. today on the grounds of the Old Courthouse in downtown Inverness.
The lighting of the menorah commemorates the time when ancient Israelites in 168 B.C.E. (before the common era) began a revolt against their Syrian Greek oppressors. After the Jews won the war in 165 B.C.E., they rededicated their temple on the 25th day of Kislev, according to the Hebrew calendar.
When the Jews entered the temple, they discovered the Greeks had desecrated it. There was only enough olive oil to last one day for the lighted menorah, a seven-branch candelabra; it was supposed to be lit continuously — an eternal light.
Hanukkah celebrates the oil miraculously lasting eight days, which was enough time for a new batch of olive oil to be processed.
In addition to the candlelighting, music will be played and traditional Hanukkah foods such as latkes (potato pancakes) will be served.
The public is invited. In case of rain, the event will be moved indoors to the old courtroom upstairs on the second floor.