JCA to light Chanukkah

Several hundred people are expected to attend the Jewish Community Alliance's annual ceremony to light its giant outdoor Chanukiyah at 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11.

The lighting ceremony and the members-only party that follows have become a Chanukkah tradition for many Jacksonville families as parents, children, grandparents and grandchildren gather for the holiday celebration.

One of the oldest symbols of the Jewish faith is the Menorah, a seven-branched candelabra used in the Temple. The nine-branched Chanukiyah is used during Chanukkah because Chanukkah commemorates the miracle that a day's worth of oil for a Menorah lasted eight days.

The Chanukiyah holds nine candles: eight symbolizing the eight days for which there was enough oil after the consecration of the Temple and an extra candle called the "shamash," which is used for lighting the rest of the candles.

Artist David Pousier created the giant Chanukiyah. It was dedicated on Dec. 18, 1995.

The JCA is at 8505 San Jose Blvd., on the corner of San Jose and San Clerc, one traffic light north of Baymeadows Road.