Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

History you can touch.

Byline: Paul Logan Journal Staff Writer

Ancient artifacts bring stirring story of Hanukkah up close

Students at Congregation B'nai Israel got to touch history for Hanukkah this year. As inquisitive 6- and 7-year-olds handled ancient, fragile earthenware, Rabbi Isaac Celnik told them one of the jars was made about the time the Hanukkah celebration began more than 2,000 years ago.

Celnik's show-and-tell class for students on a recent Sunday allowed them to examine several rare artifacts from the Holy Land worth tens of thousands of dollars. The artifacts are part of the temple's collection.

"These children will never forget the religion class when they actually handled something so beautiful, so ancient and so meaningful," he said.

Hanukkah, known as the Jewish Festival of Lights, begins tonight at sundown. It is an eight-day observance recalling how Judah and the Maccabees rebelled against Syrian rule, which outlawed many Jewish practices and placed idols in the temple in Jerusalem.

After Judah drove out the Syrians, he came to rededicate the temple. …

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