'Feels like a miracle': Manitobans celebrating Hanukkah with in-person events

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah began on Sunday, and Manitobans are thrilled to be able to celebrate in-person once again.

“It’s a very, very joyous celebration,” said Laura Marjovsky, manager of programming at the Rady JCC.

She noted said it’s amazing for everyone to celebrate together after nearly two years of living through a pandemic.

“It actually feels like a miracle and that’s one of the things that we celebrate on Chanukah – a miracle,” she said.

Rabbi Anibal Mass from Shaarey Zedek explained that Hanukkah marks two miracles in the 2nd century BCE – the first was when a group of Jewish people rebelled and won against their oppressors. Then after their win, they went to reclaim and rededicate their temple and experienced a second miracle when lighting the menorah -- a small amount of oil, which was only enough supply for one day, lasted eight days.

“It’s a time to be thankful for being able to for being able to celebrate the Jewish holidays in peace and freedom here in Canada,” he said.

“We also remember that freedom of religion is something that is worth fighting for.”

The eight-day celebration, also known as the festival of lights, involves lighting a menorah each day, gifts, and oily foods.

Mass added that everything revolves around the oil during Hanukkah, which is why Jewish people eat latkes (fried potato pancakes) and jelly-filled donuts.

“Everything is around oil, so we can remember, even through the food, this wonderful miracle,” he said.

The Rady JCC kicked off celebrations by inviting families to participate in games and face painting on Sunday. They also had the opportunity to indulge in some traditional holiday foods.

The Rady JCC is holding other Hanukkah events including an adult paint night, a holiday concert, and candle lightings. More information can be found online.

The Simkin Centre is holding an outdoor event with giant menorahs on Monday, and Shaarey Zedek is holding a ‘This is Jewpardy – Chanukah Edition’ event on Thursday and a family concert on Sunday.




- With files from CTV’s Rachel Lagace.