Hanukkah Begins

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

Sundown Tuesday marks the beginning of Hanukkah, and while the holiday may be centuries old, it's still an important celebration for many Jewish families.

"It's a fun holiday, it's celebrated in the home, there are games you play with your children and you give your children gifts every night for eight nights," said Dr. Frank Kasman, the lay president of Temple Beth-El in Odessa.

Eight nights, symbolized by the lighting of eight candles, one per day. Dr. Kasman explained the history of Hanukkah Tuesday, and about the distinct Menorah used during the Jewish holiday.

"The Hanukkah Menorah has four on each side, so it has eight, and then it has one in the middle, which is the they call it the shamas, and it's the candle that you use to light the other candles," explained Dr. Kasman.

Kasman also explained how the Hanukkah menorah is deeply rooted in Jewish history, as one group of Jews, the Maccabees, witnessed how miraculously only a day's worth of oil last for over eight days.

"And we cook things in oil, fried potatoe latkes, or potatoe pancakes are fried in oil in remembrance of the oil," added Dr. Kasman.

And he also talked about how it's important for him, as a Jewish person in West Texas, to be knowledgeable about his religion.

"When you're in a distinct minority, and you want your kids mainstreamed, you know it, because you teach it to your kids," said Dr. Kasman.

Doctor Kasman also said he's happy to live in a country where he can celebrate Hanukkah each year. Members of Temple Beth-El in Odessa will also be hosting Hanukkah part Friday, December 7