This year, Jews begin celebrating Hanukkah at sunset on December 1. The holiday lasts eight days and nights. In Hebrew, the word "Hanukkah" means "dedication." Hanukkah honors a struggle that dates back to 165 B.C., when Jews defeated an invading army and regained the Temple at Jerusalem. According to legend, Jews found a lamp inside the temple with just enough oil to light their holy lamps for one night. By some miracle, the legend goes, it burned for eight nights. Today, Jews celebrate Hanukkah by lighting a candle in a special holder, called a menorah, for each of the eight nights.
Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel!
Last night, two students at Yeshiva University in New York City set a new world record for dreidel spinning in the Guinness Book of World Records. The two students, along with 616 others, set a new record of 618 people spinning the four-sided tops at the same time. The old record was 541 and took place in New Jersey five years ago. Guinness still has to certify the dreidel record before it becomes official.
And… It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
Elsewhere in New York City last night, thousands of people of all faiths gathered in Rockefeller Center to watch the lighting of the country's most famous Christmas tree. Mayor Michael Bloomberg helped turn on the 30,000 energy-efficient lights that decorate the 74-foot Norway spruce. The ceremony, which included performances by Jessica Simpson, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban and Charice, was broadcast on television. The towering tree will be lit until January 7, 2011.