Posted: 12:00 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012

Hanukkah history and stories to be discussed next week

A speaker series at Wittenberg will bring in Dr. Becker.

By Melissa Dabe

Everyone is welcome to learn about Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, with Dr. Annette Nathan Becker on Thursday at Wittenberg’s Shouvlin Center.

The Jewish religious festival begins this year on Saturday, Dec. 8, after sundown and extends for eight days. It is a time of remembrance of the re-dedication of the second Temple in Jerusalem. The festival involves lighting candles on a menorah (a nine candle candelabra) and sharing stories of faith.

Dr. Becker will share the history and story of Hanukkah. “Hanukkah is the celebration of a fight for religious freedom, of a military victory of the Jews over the Greeks around 100 BCE,” she said. “The Greeks defiled the Jewish Temple, which started the war.”

Hanukkah celebrates two miracles that occurred during and following the war. Dr. Becker says that the first miracle was that the Jewish people won, even though they were greatly outnumbered. The second miracle involved oil needed to light the menorah in the temple. The Jews only had enough oil for the light to burn one day, but it burned for eight days, which was exactly the time needed to prepare more oil.

Dr. Becker says that Jewish people consider Hanukkah a minor holiday. “We have other holidays that are much more significant, but because this is in December, it receives a lot of attention.”

In addition to discussing the history and traditions associated with the festival, Dr. Becker will be bringing donuts for the guests. “Fried foods are eaten during the week to commemorate the importance of oil. It’s the one time a year I get to eat a donut and not feel guilty!” she said.

This program is part of the Speaker Series sponsored by the Global Education and Peace Network.

Nancy Flinchbaugh, fair housing and mediation coordinator with the city of Springfield, said that the speaker series started after the attacks of 9/11 to build awareness of global cultures. “The network is made up of a diverse group of people,” said Flinchbaugh. “Each month we have a program to raise awareness of global and local ethnic cultures and to build bridges of intercultural understanding.”

For a complete schedule of programs, visit the Springfield’s website at


What: Dr. Annette Nathan Becker speaking on Hanukkah: Festival of Lights and Miracles

Where: Wittenberg University, Shouvlin Center, Room 105, 737 N. Fountain Ave., Springfield

When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13

Cost: Free

More info: (937) 324-7696 or

Global Education Speaker Series Programs

All programs will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays in Room 105 of the Joseph C. Shouvlin Center at Wittenberg University, 737 N. Fountain Ave., Springfield. For more information, call (937) 324-7696.

Jan. 10: Notable Art Works and Architecture in Springfield with Colleen Walters and Monica Hohl

Feb. 21: Dialogue With Wittenberg Students Studying Abroad with Wittenberg students

March 14: Respecting Cultural and Religious Differences in the Medical Community and Related Services with Parveen Mohammed

April 11: How to Discuss Issues Surrounding Race, Ethnicity and Gender with John Young, adjunct professor, Wittenberg University

May 9: Joyful Celebrations: Indian Wedding Traditions with Sunny Dhingra

June 13: Multi-Culturalism Within African-American Culture with Cheryl DeGroat Dover and friends

July 11: How Did We Get Here? Immigration, Genealogy and More with Ardath Dellapina and friends

Aug. 8: Educating Children in Different Cultures with Jagdish Singh


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