Secular Chanukah Service & Menorah Lighting

Our Rabbi Tzemah Yoreh:  Chanukah is an interesting holiday for humanists.

The backdrop of the Chanukah story is the struggle of the Jews led by the militant priestly family the Maccabees against Hellenistic rule. They had to fight to preserve their religion, and to celebrate their beliefs and customs the way they wanted to. On Hanukkah we celebrate their success. The Maccabees chased the Greeks and their followers out of Jerusalem, they cleansed the temple and eventually freed the entire land of Judah.

One thing most people don’t know, however, is that part of the Maccabees’ fight was against other groups of Jews who were more tolerant of the cosmopolitan Greek values and created a Jewish Hellenistic hybrid. A civil war of sorts ensued in which many of these Hellenizers were killed for these beliefs by the victorious Maccabees and their followers. The irony is that after a couple of generations the Maccabees themselves, who became the rulers of Judah, started to assimilate into Hellenistic culture, they adopted Greek names and practices.

At City Congregation, we ask ourselves: who do we identify with more, the Maccabees or the Hellenizers? Did there have to be a backlash against multiculturalism for the Jews to survive and thrive?

We’ll be discussing all this and more at our Chanukah Shabbat service on December 7th. More details and registration available below.

Shabbat Service — Chanukah and Trivia Night

Menorah Lighting with Secular Humanistic Readings.

Be sure to bring your own menorah and candles!

Delicious catered dinner with hearty meal, latkes and sufganiyot (jelly donuts).

Annual Jewish Trivia Game led by TCC member and Trivia Maven Dan Wyman (pitched at all levels of Jewish knowledge and learning).

Reservations for dinner must be pre-paid by noon, December 5. $20 for adults, $10 for children. Refunds are available only for cancellation by noon, December 1. Please call or email the office with questions at 212-213-1002 or

This program is sold out.  Email info@citycongregation to be added to the wait list.  Thank you.

6:30PM to 9:00PM



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