Happy Hanukkah! Or, as they say in Hebrew, Hanukkah Sameach!
On Thursday evening, Jews across Buenos Aires (and much of the world) will be observing a religious holiday that dates all the way back to the second century BCE, when the Maccabeans triumphed over the Seleucid Empire.
The festival lasts for eight days and eight nights, and each night, celebrants add an additional candle to a nine-headed candelabra known as a menorah. According to the Talmud, that’s how long a single day’s worth of oil miraculously burned in the Second Temple of Jerusalem, which the Maccabean Jews had reclaimed.
Since Rabbi Menachem Schneerson began campaigning for public menorah lightings in 1974, the Chabad Hasidic movement has promoted these ceremonies across the globe, and Buenos Aires is no exception. Each year, Jabad Argentina hosts a Hanukkah celebration in Plaza República Oriental del Uruguay in Palermo — one that includes the classic Hanukkah tradition and a range of family-friendly activities.
This year’s event, “Am Israel unido en una misma luz” (“Israel united in the same light”), will take place from 12 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 12, and promises “candle lighting, shows, surprises, and more.” The festivities, featuring music from the Kef Orchestra, are free and open to the public. Most importantly, you don’t have to be Jewish to join in the fun.
“Am Israel unido en una misma luz” will be co-sponsored by the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association (AMIA, by its Spanish acronym). On Thursday afternoon, AMIA will commemorate the two-month anniversary of the Hamas raid in southern Israel that killed an estimated 1200 people in one of the deadliest attacks on Jews since the Holocaust. At least 15,000 Palestinians have been killed in the ensuing conflict, more than half of them women and children.
Plaza República Oriental del Uruguay is located on Avenida del Libertador 1799. In the event of rain, the celebration will be postponed until Wednesday, December 13.