At sundown this Sunday, Jews around the world begin celebrating Hanukkah/Chanukkah/Chanukah. Why are there so many different ways to spell it? We asked a rabbi in Atlanta and he says it’s because there’s no English translation. The different spellings are all efforts to capture in English how that Hebrew word is pronounced in English.

The eight day holiday begins on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev.
It commemorates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem after its defilement by Antiochus of Syria.Chanukah is probably one of the best known Jewish holidays, but not because of any great religious significance. Rosh Hashanah and Passover are major Jewish holidays. The website Judaism 101 says Chanukah is a minor holiday, but gets a lot of attention because of its proximity to Christmas.

In honor of the Festival of Lights, GPB will broadcast a perennial NPR favorite, Hanukkah Lights, on Tuesday, December 8th at 7 pm. The hour long program features Hanukkah stories and memoirs written by Kathryn Blume, Leah Lax, Eric Kimmel, Isaac Bashevis Singer and Jonathan Safran Foer, as read by NPR’s Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz. You can enjoy the special on all of our GPB Radio stations except 88.5 GPB Atlanta. It’s also on our live stream and on the GPB apps.