Understanding Hanukkah and Judaism

Last Sunday (December 6th) marked the kick off of Hanukkah 2015. With the holiday season now in full affect, I figured I'd tell you a little about this lesser known holiday. While most people are often consumed with the Christmas spirit at this time, a much smaller bit of the world has been prepping for Hanukkah. Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday lasting for eight days from the 25th day of Kislev (in December). The celebration commemorates the rededication of the Temple in 165 BC by the Maccabees after it was destroyed by Syria. 
It is marked by the lighting of eight candles, candles that represent the number of nights the temple lantern burned. The holiday remains a time full of love, gratitude, and giving for the Jewish people. And no, Hanukkah is NOT Jewish Christmas. It is one of the most important holidays of the religion, and honestly, you take away something from the holiday when associating it with Christmas. Christmas is to Christianity as Hannukah is to Judaism. The two are not interchangeable. 
While Judaism is one of the world's major religions I think it's pretty safe to say that the overwhelming majority see truth in the common misconceptions associated with it. One common belief is that the religion isn't practiced in communities of color, and see, that just isn't true. I think it's important to mention that Judaism is practiced by many people of the world, and people of color can in fact be Jewish. According to bechollashon, at least 20% of the Jewish population is radically and ethnically diverse including black, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American Jews. As much as we forget to mention Hannukah during the holiday season we forget to mention the people of color who practice Judaism. Soooo I've decided to include pictures of these forgotten faces to showcase the diversity of the religion in honor of the both the religion and the holiday.
What a beautiful mix of people that take part in this. Happy Hannukah if that's your thing! If it's not I hope I've encouraged you to understand just how diverse Judaism is and what Hannukah is all about. Instead of being surprised at seeing a Jewish POC take it as an opportunity to become educated. If they feel comfortabe sharing their experiences, listen and understand. Begin your enlightenment with the start of Hanukkah 2015!