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    Festival of light

    In Hebrew it is Chag HaUrim, the Festival of Lights.

    Only once a year, you say? Wrong – the Jewish year has a sheaf of occasions dedicated to light.

    Lights at the beginning of Shabbat and festivals. Lights when a baby is born. Lights at a b’rit milah.

    Hebrew names such as Uriah, Light of the Lord, or Me’ir, light-bringer. Even Yiddish names involving light e.g. Feivel or Feivish (or Uri Feivel), from the Greek Phoebus. “Light” surnames such as Lapid or Lapidot (torch) or Lichtigfeld, Field of Light.

    Light when a child started lessons (Psalm 27:1: “God is my Light”; Proverbs 6:23, “The Torah is a Light”). Synagogue lights donated by congregants. Bride and groom escorted by parents bearing candles. Memorial lights after a bereavement.

    Light isn’t only a one-off annual observance but throughout the year.

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