Festival of Lights: Heartwarming photos of Dayton’s celebration of Hanukkah through the years

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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The celebration of Hanukkah is captured in a collection of photographs dating back to the 1960s

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Endearing images of local Hanukkah celebrations have been captured in a collection of photographs dating back to the 1960s.

The photos, from the Dayton Daily News archives, document family gatherings around the menorah and children spinning dreidels.

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Allison Sherman, Amy Blumhof, Harris Schneiderman and George Abrams prepare for Hanukkah with Rabbi Lifschitz at Hillel Academy in 1986. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE

Allison Sherman, Amy Blumhof, Harris Schneiderman and George Abrams prepare for Hanukkah with Rabbi Lifschitz at Hillel Academy in 1986. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE
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Allison Sherman, Amy Blumhof, Harris Schneiderman and George Abrams prepare for Hanukkah with Rabbi Lifschitz at Hillel Academy in 1986. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE

The holiday, which begins today at sundown, is a joyous one. Small gifts are given to children each night, there are songs and games, family gatherings and parties.

The “Festival of Lights,” as Hanukkah is often called, is a holiday that celebrates the importance of religious freedom.

More than 2,000 years ago, a small band of Jews led by Judah the Macabee, miraculously recaptured their temple from the Syrians who out-numbered them. The Jews reestablished their right to worship as they pleased.

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The eighth candle of the menorah was lighted for Hanukkah at Beth Abraham synagogue on Salem Avenue in 1964. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE

The eighth candle of the menorah was lighted for Hanukkah  at Beth Abraham synagogue on Salem Avenue in 1964. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE
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The eighth candle of the menorah was lighted for Hanukkah at Beth Abraham synagogue on Salem Avenue in 1964. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE

Today, Jews around the world commemorate the event with the lighting of the menorah and kindle an additional candle for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah.

The nightly menorah lighting continues through Dec. 20.

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