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Family, friends and Hanukkah

December 23, 2000

Michael Martinez

GLENDALE -- To Karen Berg, the Hanukkah potluck dinner party Friday

night at her home was the ultimate o7 tzedekahf7 , or altruism.

"The party itself is really about just getting together, about

celebrating our community," said Berg, 17, a Glendale High senior who

organized the dinner. "It was something I really wanted to do for the

congregation.

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Including several people from Burbank, about 40 to 50 members of

Congregation Hugat Haverim -- which Berg's mother, Jacqueline Gish, said

means "circle of friends" -- attended the dinner and the formal Hanukkah

services that followed.

Known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah commemorates the victory of

the Jews over the Hellenist Syrians in 165 B.C. and the subsequent

reclaiming of their synagogue in Jerusalem.

According to the Talmud, the body of Jewish oral law, when it came

time to rededicate the Temple there was only enough suitable oil to fuel

Temple lights for one day. But the lights burned bright for for eight

nights.

Thusly, the lighting of the menorah is the symbol of this miracle.

But the gathering of friends and family is as significant amiracle to

Karen Berg as the religious and cultural significance of the holiday.

"[Lighting of the menorah] gives me a chance to reflect on the last 17

years I've spent with family and friends," she said.

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