Hanukkah begins tonight. Laredo may be predominantly Catholic but it does have a healthy Jewish community, some who are part of Congregation Agudas Achim. Laredo may even have had Jewish roots in its founder, Tómas Sánchez if research (and his PhD dissertation) by Dr. C. Larralde is accurate:
During Colonial Mexico, the Sanchez family used different surnames, a practice common among Hispanic Jews. Like other Jews, Sanchez had confidence in himself.
Like most immigrants, the keen and intuitive Sanchez retained a Catholic façade. Bitter memories of the Inquisition in Monterrey remained alive.
May everyone continue to celebrate your traditions freely or not celebrate if you choose. Here was one explanation of the Menorah found online:
What is a Menorah?
After the Macabee’s victory over the Greeks, they returned to the Temple to find it desecrated and in ruins. As legend has it, there was only one small vessel of oil with which to light the Menorah, that would have lasted only one day. The miracle was that the oil lasted eight days, enough time to make more oil for the Temple.
The significance of the menorah has two parts; one is to symbolize the Menorah in the temple and the other is to mark the eight days of Hanukkah. While the Menorah used in the Temple had seven branches, the menorah we light on Hanukkah is a nine branch candelabra with 8 of the candles on one level and 1 candle (usually at the end or the middle) separated from the others. The extra candle is called the ‘Shamash’ and is the one used to light the others candles.
On Hanukkah, we light eight candles one for each of the eight days of celebration in the time of the temple. On the first day we light one candle, two on the second day, and so on, up to eight on the last day.
Many saw last year’s viral video from the Maccabeats. This is their most recent Hanukkah song cover: