In celebration of one of the more sacred Jewish holidays, Cynthia Eiring likely will be lighting her menorah in the dining room of a cruise ship.
Hanukkah, also called the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish celebration that begins at sundown today.
"We're going on a cruise and (Hanukkah) starts that evening, so I'm having to pack my stuff up," said Eiring, of Evans. "We're taking our menorahs to the boat. I have special menorahs I use for that."
Hanukkah is a celebration of the miracle that happened about 2,300 years ago when the Jews had to rededicate the temple, which had been desecrated by Syrian Greeks. The Greeks tried to force the Jews to reject the idea of one God and all the customs and beliefs of Judaism.
The Jews, under the Maccabees, defeated the Greeks and restored the temple in Judea, now Israel. Every synagogue bears an eternal light and the Maccabees wanted to light the menorah for the celebration, but had only a small amount of oil.
The Jews prayed and the flame burned for eight days.
To mark the miracle, Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days on the 25th day of Kislev, a month on the Hebrew calendar, which is November to December on the Gregorian calendar. This year, Hanukkah begins at sundown today and ends Dec. 29.
Eiring said her family's Caribbean cruise ends on the last day of Hanukkah.
Each night, Eiring said her family lights one candle on the first night of Hanukkah in addition to the Shamus, or "servant" candle, used to light the others. Two candles are lit the second night and so forth until all eight candles are burning on the eighth night of Hanukkah.
"We usually travel this time of year," Eiring said. "We usually go skiing. So, we'll do it on top of a mountain or whatever. So, wherever we go, we just take whatever we need.
"I have the transportable stuff," Eiring said of the folding menorah and Shabbat candle holder that she bought in Israel. "It is like a really cool thing. But it is not your typical looking menorah."
Eiring said that each night her husband James and children Erica, 21, and Adam, 17, will light their own menorahs, say Jewish blessings, read a story about the origins of Hanukkah, sing songs and play dreidel games.
Because dinner together is usually the rule when the Eirings travel, dinnertime is the perfect time to celebrate and to share their celebration with other Jewish families they will be traveling with.
"They don't want you lighting candles in our room, so I am going to have to do it in the dining room," Eiring said, adding she gets the chef to prepare some traditional Hanukkah foods. "The big food is always fried because of the miracle."
Eiring said her husband always enjoys the traditional potato latke, or pancakes, but any other type of pancake or fried food fits the bill.
Hanukkah doesn't always fall so close to Christmas, when school is out. Some years, the Eirings have to work around their jobs and school to do their nightly observances.
But when Hanukkah does fall during the family's holiday trips, it is usually a fun holiday, Eiring said.
"It is kind of easier because nothing is open anyway." Eiring's daughter, Erica, said of traveling for the holiday and on Christmas Day, which they use as a family day to be together, see a movie, eat dinner and travel. "The only thing open if you are driving is a Waffle House."
Eiring said her family rents their home for Masters Week, so she often has to prepare to celebrate Passover somewhere other than home.
So preparing to travel during Hanukkah isn't a big deal. She simply packs a few small menorahs, some candles, a Kiddush cup and Shabbat candles to burn on the Jewish Sabbath.
"I'm ready to go," Eiring said. "It doesn't take much, but you can observe your holiday. We just take our menorahs with us. Wherever I am, I celebrate."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.