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Menorah Lightings Take Place Sunday and Monday Evenings By Edie Johnson

Menorah Lightings Take Place Sunday and Monday Evenings

By Edie Johnson

Menorahs will be lit in Newburgh at Congregation Agudas Israel (Monday), as well as at New Windsor Town Hall (Monday) and in Cornwall at Ring’s Pond Gazebo (Sunday) to signify the beginning of Chanukkah. Another lighting will be held at  Second & Washington Streets in the City of Newburgh, also on Sunday.

Congregation Agudas Israel

Celebrates Chanukkah With A New Rabbi

Congregation Agudas Israel, on North Street in Newburgh, has a lot to be thankful for this Season.  On Monday evening it will celebrate its Menorah Lighting with Rabbi Jacob Rosner, who has only been with the Synagogue for a couple of months.  Rabbi Rosner came from Burrough Park, Brooklyn, and while he has a “egalitarian conservative” background he says “That’s with a capital “C”, meaning that it is really all inclusive. All are welcome at the very large and beautiful synagogue, in front of which sits the large candelabra  that will begin its lightings on Monday. Rabbi Jacob is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary where he received his Masters Degree, ordination and honorary doctor of divinity. He shared with the Orange County Post this his belief that that at the core of the synagogue’s teaching is “Tsedaka”, an attitude of charity and an obligation to teach the world about compassionate peace.  While many think that a Jewish lifestyle has a lot to do with rules and restrictions, he takes a relatively flexible view that the rules are there to make our lives better, and therefore be in a better position to show compassion and do charitable works for others.

Temple (2)

Congregation Agudas also has a large Community Center in the synagogue and conducts a full slate of comprehensive Jewish Studies including: Hebrew language, Jewish Holidays, History, Culture and Life-Cycle events as well as Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation.

The Hanukkah Menorah is a nine-branched candle that is lit, one each day, during the holiday. Called the Festival of Lights it commemorates the successful rebellion, in the second century B.C.E., of a clan of Jewish freedom fighters called the Maccabees.

Hanukkah also called the Jewish Festival of Lights and it remembers the rededication of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, in Israel. This happened in the 160s BCE/BC (before Jesus was born). (Hanukkah is the Hebrew and Aramaic word for ‘dedication’.) Hanukkah lasts for eight days and starts on the eve of the 25th of Kislev, the month in the Jewish calendar that often occurs at about the same time as December. Because the Jewish calendar is lunar (it uses the moon for its dates), Kislev can happen from late November to late December. In 2019, Hanukkah will be from the evening of Sunday, 22nd December until the evening of Monday, 30th December.

How similar or different are basic Christian and Jewish beliefs?  The rabbi reminded us that since Jesus was himself a Jew, he likely followed many of the Jewish traditions, and much of the underlying basis of good works, compassion and charity are the same.

See lots more great stories and photos in this week’s Orange County Post.
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