Congregation Beth Shalom brings back what’s become a seasonal tradition on Friday, Dec. 30, with the lighting of the downtown Modesto Chanukah Menorah.
A free community event, the ceremonial lighting of the 5-foot-tall menorah at Tenth Street Plaza also will feature a performance of holiday songs and seasonal treats.
The Dec. 30 lighting is only one of several that CBS will hold across the Modesto region. Other public menorah lightings are planned beginning Sunday, Dec. 25, at CBS and throughout the week in Modesto, Manteca, Turlock and Oakdale.
An eight-day observance dating back more than 2,100 years, Hanukkah – also known as the celebration of light – starts at sundown Saturday, Dec. 24, and ends Saturday, Dec. 31. The unique timing of the Jewish holiday with the Christian Christmas won’t happen again for more than 20 years, according to the CBS website.
While it’s considered a minor festival in the annual Jewish calendar, the eight-day celebration overlaps annually with the new moon, and hence includes one of the darkest nights of the year. It marks a victory by the Maccabees in their struggle for religious and political freedom.
According to www.chabad.org, a Jewish educational website, in 165 B.C. Israel was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian Greeks) who sought to forcefully Hellenize the people of Israel. Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews – the Maccabees – defeated one of the mightiest armies on Earth and reclaimed the holy temple in Jerusalem. But the temple had been desecrated, and when the people wanted to light its menorah, they found only a one-day supply of holy olive oil left. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days until new, ritually pure oil was ready.
A main message of the holiday is that “light is more powerful than darkness and hope is more powerful than despair,” according to CBS.
Here are details on all of this year’s public-invited celebrations, which are planned rain or shine:
Modesto: 6 p.m. Dec. 25, Congregation Beth Shalom, 1705 Sherwood Ave.; 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 27, McHenry Village, 1700 McHenry Ave.; 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, Tenth Street Plaza, 1010 10th St., Modesto.
Manteca: 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 26, Manteca Library Park, 320 W. Center St.
Turlock: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28, Downtown corner of South Golden State Boulevard and Main Street.
Oakdale: 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29, Bianchi Community Center, 110 S. Second Ave.
Other religious events and observances across the region:
COMMUNITY BIBLE STUDY – 10 a.m. Sundays, Healing Word Christian Fellowship Church, 950 Oakdale Road, Modesto. 209-450-6612.
WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDIES – Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays; call for times. Shelter Cove Church, 4242 Coffee Road, Modesto. 209-567-3200.
MOPS – 6 to 8 p.m. first and third Wednesdays, Trinity United Presbyterian Church, 1600 Carver Road, Modesto. Trinity United Modesto Mothers of Preschoolers. 209-529-3228.
PIONEER CLUBS – 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, Centenary Church, McHenry at Norwegian avenues, Modesto. Midweek program. for preschool through fifth grade. Fee for materials. 209-527-5441.
GRIEFSHARE – 6:30 p.m. Thursdays, Calvary Chapel, 4300 American Ave., Modesto. Seminar and support group for those who have lost a loved one. Free.
NEW CREATION IN CHRIST – 7 p.m. Fridays, Calvary Chapel, 4300 American Ave., Modesto. Faith-based ministry for men who are struggling against addiction and/or life-dominating sin. 209-545-5530.
BIBLE STUDIES – Various times, Emanuel Lutheran Church, 324 College Ave., Modesto. Men’s and women’s classes. 209-523-4531
Christmas Day Services
ST. JOSEPH’S HOLIDAY MASSES – 7:30 a .m., 9 a.m. (TLF Mass), 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. (Spanish), 5:30 p.m. Youth, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 1813 Oakdale Road, Modesto. 209-551-4973 or www.stjmod.com.
REDEEMER CHRISTMAS DAY SERVICE – 10 a.m. Redeemer Church, 820 H St., Modesto. Services open to families feature children’s version of the Christmas story, Christmas carols and a short message. 209-523-8990.
BIG VALLEY GRACE CHRISTMAS DAY GATHERING – 9 a.m. Big Valley Grace Community Church, 4040 Tully Road, Modesto. Worship and rejoicing with music and a message from Pastor Rick Countryman. 209-577-1604.
SAINT JOHN BOSCO HOLIDAY SERVICES – 9 a.m. Christmas Mass, St. John Bosco Catholic Church, 1606 Imperial Ave., Modesto. 209-599-6242.
FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHRISTMAS DAY – 10 a.m. First United Methodist Church, 850 16th St., Modesto. Christmas Day Worship. 209-522-9046.
NEW YEAR SERVICES – Dec. 31: 5:30 p.m. Vigil Mass, 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Holy Hour; Jan. 1: 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m. Latin Mass, 1:30 p.m. Spanish, 5:30 p.m. Youth, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 1813 Oakdale Road, Modesto. 209-551-4973 or www.stjmod.com.
NEW YEAR SERVICE – 9 a.m. Jan. 1, New Year’s Day Mass. St. John Bosco Catholic Church, 1606 Imperial Ave., Modesto. 209-599-6242.
EMOTIONAL MASTERY – The Essence of Yoga Phycology – 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, Center for Spiritual Living Modesto, 2125 Wylie Drive, Modesto. In this cutting-edge interactive workshop you will learn how to reach for the next best thought when under stress, how to apply the art and science of appreciation, how thoughts attract experiences, both negative and positive and more. $45 pre-registered, $55 at the door. Includes materials and book by presenter Richard Parenti. Space is limited. 209-648-3495 to register.
Send events by noon Tuesday to firstname.lastname@example.org.