This year, Hanukkah begins on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 8, and ends a week later on Sunday, Dec. 16.
According to Chabad.org, Hanukkah starts on the Hebrew calendar date of 25 Kislev and lasts for eight days. For those of us who aren't attuned to the Jewish calendar, that translates to sundown on Saturday, Dec. 8.
There are no temples listed in Charlestown, but there are a few in Somerville and other places nearby:
• Temple B'nai Brith, 201 Central St., Somerville. Upcoming events include a Children's School Chanukah Party on Sunday, Dec. 9 and a Friday Night Service and Potluck Dinner on Friday, Dec. 14. More information and service times can be found at tbbsomerville.weebly.com.
• Temple Emmanuel, 60 Tudor St., Chelsea. Visit the temple website for service times and upcoming events.
• Temple Beth Shalom of Cambridge, 8 Tremont St., Cambridge. Visit tremontstreetshul.org for service times and upcoming events.
Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, commemorates the story of the Maccabean Revolt against Syrian rulers in present day Israel 2,300 years ago. The Maccabees wanted to rededicate Jerusalem's main temple but had only enough oil to kindle the Eternal Light for one day. The oil lasted for eight days, according to the story, and the holiday of Hanukkah was born.
Today, Jews generally celebrate by gathering together with family, lighting one candle on the menorah each of the eight nights, playing dreidel and eating special holiday foods such as potato latkes and babka.
TELL US: If you observe Hanukkah, what are your plans? Do you know of a great Jewish temple in the area for those who may be new to town or looking for a place to worship?