12/07/2012 06:01 pm ET

Detroit Hanukkah Events Shed Light On Jewish Festival

It's time for Motown's Jewish community to get out the menorahs and get ready for a heap of Hanukkah happenings. Saturday marks the first night of the eight-day Jewish holiday and Detroiters have several events they can attend in the city this year.

Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights, commemorates an ancient Jewish miracle that, according to tradition, allowed a one-day supply of oil to burn for eight days in Israel during the time of the Maccabees. The holiday is celebrated with a special candelabra called a menorah that is lit each night of the festival.

The Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue will be kicking off the season with a free "Jam for Food Justice" on Saturday, Dec. 8. The event will feature a concert by Rabbi Zevit followed by a jam session. Visitors are encouraged to bring instruments. The Hanukkah jam session is a collaboration between the Downtown Synagogue, the Song & Spirit Institute for Peace, the Reconstructionist Congregation of Detroit and the Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation. Donations will benefit local food justice nonprofits Replanting Roots, Detroit Youth Food Brigade and Eden Gardens Block Club. Doors open to the synagogue located at 1457 Griswold St. at 7:30 pm and music begins at 8 pm. Contact for more information.

Two public menorah lightings will be held in Detroit during this year's festival. The first of these, sponsored by Shalom Wayne, Hillel of Metro Detroit, will take place on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. on Wayne State University's campus at 5221 Gullen Mall. The Shul, a West Bloomfield congregation that sponsored last year's downtown menorah lighting ceremony, will also be returning to host their second annual "Super Big Menorah Lighting in the D." The Dec. 12 event will begin at 5:30 at Campus Martius and will feature hot soup, donuts and several fun Hanukkah activities.

The Downtown Synagogue will wrap up the festival of lights with a holiday party on Sunday, Dec. 16. The event, which begins at 6 p.m., will include a latke (potato pancake) fry, a dreidel tournament and a fun-filled family environment. For more information contact



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