Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

As Hanukkah begins, Debate Over Oldest Depiction of Menorah Intensifies

Festival of Lights today features Nine branched candelabra. But God specified 7 branches

What is Hannukah? Imagine if your cellphone was at 10%, but lasted for 8 days. Now you understand Hannukah, says a new T Shirt that explains the Jewish holiday. Yes, but how did the Menorah get nine branches, when Deuteronomy specifies just 7 branches?

Early Menorahs apparently had just 7 branches. Today they have nine. No one is certain precisely when and how this evolution took place.

Take for example, the Arch of Titus, which has a 7 branch Menorah looted from the Ancient Temple in Jerusalem. The Arch of Titus is a 1st-century AD honorific arch, located on the Via Sacra, Rome, just to the south-east of the Roman Forum. It was constructed in c. AD 82 by the Emperor Domitian shortly after the death of his older brother Titus to commemorate Titus's victories, including the Siege of Jerusalem (AD 70).

The arch has provided the general model for many triumphal arches erected since the 16th century-perhaps most famously it is the inspiration for the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

The Arch provides one of the few contemporary depictions of Temple period artifacts. It became a symbol of the Jewish diaspora, and the menorah depicted on the Arch served as the model for the menorah used on the emblem of the state of Israel.

Holiday Event to Explore Origins of Hanukkah and Christmas

The Guibord Center will present Holy Days of Light: Roots of Hanukkah and Christmas on Saturday, December 8 in Santa Monica. The family-friendly holiday event, which is free and open to the public, will also be live streamed.

In Judaism, hope is embodied in the miracle of light celebrated in the festival of Hanukkah, and in Christianity, hope comes through the birth of Christ, the Light of the world. Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels, Temple Beth Shir Shalom, and the Rev. Canon Mark Kowalewski, Dean of St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, will explore the origins of these beloved holidays and how light became the symbol of hope associated with both.

A special program will be available for children ages 7 to 12. Attendees who plan to bring children are asked to register by December 1 with the number and their ages to ensure materials will be available for all participants.

Who: The Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord, Founder and President, The Guibord Center

Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels, Temple Beth Shir Shalom

The Very Rev. Canon Mark Kowalewski, Dean, St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral

What: Holy Days of Light: Roots of Hanukkah and Christmas

When: Saturday, December 8, 2018, 3:00-5:00 pm

Where: Temple Beth Shir Shalom

1827 California Street, Santa Monica 90403

How: Register at or by calling 323.333.4664

If bringing children, please RSVP by Dec. 1 with the number and their ages

Online: Livestream at or

For event information, please contact Yolie Carrillo, or 323.333.4664.


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