The Hanukkah holiday is an old one. It honors the struggle of ancient Jews to restore the Temple of Jerusalem. Long ago, Judea was ruled by the Syrian king Antiochus took a hard line when he said that Jews should give up worshipping Yahweh and worship the Greek gods instead. This was a

hot potato issue with the Jews. He said that the Jews must do this to stay on his good side . The Jews were put out and didn't like this. They refused to abandon Yahweh . They decided to do something about it and a man named Judah Maccabee got the ball rolling. He drummed up a group of people to fight back. These people got more people to chuck it and fight. They fought back and were a quick study on how to fight. For three years, the Jews battled the Syrians for control of Judea. When the Jews won they went back to square one in the Temple of Jerusalem, removing all Greek symbols and restoring the Jewish symbols. The job was finished on the 25th day of the month of Kislev. This is the day Hanukkah is celebrated. In the Western calendar this date varies and may occur at any time from late November to late December. To help celebrate, Judah and his followers lit an oil lamp. The supply of oil was very low, but this lamp stayed lit for eight days. To honor this extraordinary event, Jews today celebrate the Eight Days of Hanukkah and call it the " Festival of Lights." They light a special eight-candle device called a menorah. People today give each other the odd bill and gifts, and lap up special foods, have special dinners and just go crazy. It is a time to remember their ancestors, who were put out by the Syrian king's hard line and fought to take their temple back.

The big picture is that religious freedom is a hot potato issue. People should not be forced to chose sides as to the god or gods that they worship.

Idioms in this story:

hard line hot potato on his good side put out chuck it a quick study square one the odd bill go crazy The big picture chose sides drummed up