AUSTIN (KXAN) – On Sunday evening, Texas Governor Greg Abbott will light the ninth candle in a Hanukkah celebration.
In the Jewish faith, Hanukkah is an eight-day “festival of lights” that commemorates the consecration of the Second Temple in Jerusalem each year in 160 BC. CNN explains. The consecration symbolized that Jews in the region could worship again after Judaism was banned by King Antiochus IV.
Contrary to popular belief, Hanukkah is not the Jewish version of Christmas, although it does include some items like candy (chocolate gold coins) and games (four-sided rotating toys called dreidels).
Abbott will light the shamash, or “servant candle,” the ninth candle used to light other candles added on other days.
The event will take place at 4:15 p.m. on the South Lawn of the Texas State Capitol in downtown Austin. This year’s celebration began on November 28 and ends Monday evening. This year’s festivities come amid a recent local spike in anti-Semitic acts, including hate speech banners draped over Austin’s freeways.
“Anti-Semitism is therefore not something new to the Jewish community, it has been around for centuries,” Marvin Hecker, president of the Brotherhood Group at Congregation Beth Israel, told KXAN. “The celebration of Hanukkah aims to overcome anti-Semitism. “