CHANUKAH IN HELENA
Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we can look forward to Chanukah that begins this year on Sunday, December 6th ( just one week from today!).
We will be gathering at the State Capitol rotunda on Thursday, December 10th at high noon for our annual MAJCO chanukiah lighting ceremony and speeches. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to tell their friends. “You don’t have to be Jewish”. The more the merrier. Set up and schmoozing begins at 11a.m. Immediately following this program, we will hold a MAJCO board meeting. Room to be determined. All are welcome to attend.
Then, on Saturday, December 12th, the Helena Jewish Community is hosting a Chanukah potluck and celebration. This program will begin at 4pm in The Forum ( on the 2nd floor) of Touchmark on Saddle Dr. ( 915 Saddle Dr.) At that time, Rabbi Ed will offer a shiur (Jewish study session) on the topic of religious zealotry, focusing on the Chanukah story which begins (in 1 Maccabees chapter 2, as follows:
“A Jew came forward in the sight of all to offer a [Greek style] sacrifice upon the altar in Modein, according to the king’s command.  When Mattathias saw it, be burned with zeal and his heart was stirred. He gave vent to righteous anger; he ran and killed him upon the altar.  At the same time he killed the king’s officerwho was forcing them to sacrifice, and he tore down the altar.  Thus he burned with zeal for the law, as Phinehas did against Zimri the son of Salu.”
At this shiur, we will look at what the Jewish tradition, and especially the Talmud, have to say about this part of the Chanukah story, the preceding Pinchas story, and religious zealotry in general. You may find it surprising. The shiur will be open to whoever wishes to do some Chanukah learning.
Immediately following this study session, we will hold havdalah, followed by chanukiah lighting and a vegetarian potluck. This is a rare opportunity to partake of a little Jewish learning, socializing and holiday celebration right here in Helena. Hope you can attend.
Shavuah tov ( have a good week),
Submitted by Janet Tatz