Jews around the world are lighting candles, spinning dreidels, and eating traditional potato pancakes as they welcome Hanukkah.
The eight-day long Festival of Lights marks the re-dedication of the temple of Jerusalem in the second century BC, after Jewish guerillas defeated the armies of tyrannical Syrian and Greek rulers.
Every night over the next eight days, another candle is lit on the menorah – symbolizing the miracle of a tiny bit of oil keeping the candles burning in the temple for eight days.
President Donald Trump released a message, saying he and first lady Melania send their “warmest greetings to our Jewish brothers and sisters.”
“Over the coming days, may the warming glow of each candle on the menorah help fill the homes and hearts with love and happiness,” he said.
The president mentioned the October Pittsburgh synagogue shooting as an example of the violence and hatred many Jews still face.
A public menorah lighting will be held at the Tree of Life synagogue Sunday night as another remembrance of the 11 victims.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier lit a 10-meter high menorah in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate — Europe’s largest menorah.
For the first time in many years, Jews in Kazakhstan were allowed to light a large menorah outside the Pyramid of Peace and Reconciliation in the capital, Astana.
And in Israel, the birthplace of Hanukkah, artist Yaron Bob created menorahs from scraps of metal from rockets and shrapnel Palestinian militants fired from Gaza.
Bob’s workshop features a poster with the biblical quote: “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares.”