Hanukkah begins on the twenty-fifth day of the Jewish month of Kislev. You probably know the story: how the Maccabees triumphed over the Greeks and that one jug of oil lasted for eight days. What you probably don’t know is that the war took over a quarter century. You see, the Maccabees recaptured Jerusalem after three years of fighting, leading to the purification of the Temple and the miracle of the menorah. But for 22 years after that, roughly 10,000 Maccabees battled a Greek army estimated at 40,000 strong. Eventually, the Greeks surrendered and it’s believed to be history’s first ideological war. You are listening to Selmar Cerini with the traditional Hanukkah song “Schirm und Schutz”, an Edison Gold Cylinder recorded in 1919.
Need to brush up on your Hanukkah knowledge? There’s a great primer here.