The Jewish holiday that lasts for eight nights, starting tonight at sundown, will see children receive special presents each night and be reminded of the importance of their religion’s past.
“Even though our kids are grown we still light the candles in our home,” said Miller, who is the president of Rome’s Rodeph Sholom Congregation. “My husband and I light them and watch them burn each night. It’s just a good time to remember the miracle.”
Hanukkah commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrians in the second century B.C. and the small flask of oil that kept the flame in the temple in Jerusalem burning for eight days during its rededication.
Tonight families will light the first candle of the chanukiah, which has nine candles for the eight nights of Hanukkah and an additional one to light all the others.
An additional candle is lit each night and then burned all the way to the end. “The candles celebrate the miracle that happened to our ancestors more than 2,200 years ago,” said Bob Troy. “There is a lot of spirituality in lighting the candles because they glow up to heaven.”
Troy, a past president of the congregation located at 406 E. First St., said he looks forward to all of the special foods that are prepared.
Many, like potato latkes, are baked or fired in oil to further connect them to the history of holiday.
“The celebration of Hanukkah is meaningful every year but especially this year because of the difficulties happening right now in the Middle East,” Troy said. “But we know that our ancestors faced bigger difficulties and prevailed.
“It’s a celebration of the weak over the strong and the knowledge that only through God can miracles happen.”
According to Troy, the Rome congregation’s membership is between 40 and 50 families of diverse backgrounds from all over the world.
“Somehow they ended up in Rome, Ga.,” he said. “But despite our numbers we continue to exist and thrive and that’s a small miracle in itself.”
The group will join together on Sunday for a Hanukkah celebration that will include a party for the children where they will receive their gift for the night and one for the adults.
“We have a wonderful congregation that enjoys being together,” Miller said.
Miller said the holiday is a special time of the year where people come together and celebrate their religious freedom. “The kids do love it, but I think as adults it just gives you a good feeling,” she said.