MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Mark Rotenberg will celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah tonight, along with thousands of other people of the Jewish faith in Minnesota.

He recalls the story behind the Jewish Holiday.

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NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Susie Jones Reports

“It commemorates a conflict between the ancient Israelites in Israel, and the Syrian Greeks who were occupying that area,” Rotenberg said.

Rotenberg is general counsel at the University of Minnesota and has taught at the University’s law school for many years.

He is also a member of the committee on Jewish Law of the Rabbinical Assembly.

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Rotenberg said after the Syrian Greek military occupied Jerusalem and burned the Temple, the Maccabee family took back control.

“And the miracle of the re-consecration of the Temple in Jerusalem,” he said.

He said the Temple in Jerusalem had a menorah with eight branches that was supposed to be lighted at all times. But as the story goes, there was not enough oil on hand.

“Miraculously, some oil was found in the Temple, and the oil was sufficient to last for eight days,” he said.

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Rotenberg said since that time, the symbol of light in a period of darkness and occupation has been a symbol of freedom and liberation and hope for the Jewish people.