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The sweet celebration: Hanukkah commemorated at Shepherdstown Sweet Shop and Bakery

By Staff | Dec 12, 2018

Ginny Adams Kafka lights the menorah during Shepherdstown Sweet Shop and Bakery's first Hanukkah celebration on Dec. 4. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

SHEPHERDSTOWN – Opening its doors for its first celebration of Hanukkah on the evening of Dec. 4, Shepherdstown Sweet Shop and Bakery was filled with members of the community snacking on potato latkes, hot chocolate and cake donuts.

After attendees to the hour-long event settled into their seats, Shepherd University alumna and Shepherdstown Sweet Shop and Bakery marketing consultant Ginny Adams Kafka spoke about the significance of Hanukkah as she lit the candles of the menorah.

“I have returned to help with the holidays, and wanted to bring Hanukkah to town. Hanukkah is a very special holiday, and I’m always learning new ways to keep the holidays,” Kafka said, mentioning coordinating the event at the bakery was one way she hoped to encourage more community members to learn about and honor the eight-day-long celebration of Hanukkah, which officially started at sunset on Dec. 2 and ended at nightfall on Dec. 10 this year.

According to Kafka, the 200 B.C. events which the Jewish festival commemorates, are the Maccabean Revolt’s overthrowal of the Seleucid Empire’s control and the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, Israel. As the temple was being cleansed and rebuilt prior its rededication, the menorah–which was supposed to always be lit in the temple — was relit with all of the untainted olive oil available. Unfortunately, the oil was only enough to keep the menorah lit for one day, but miraculously, according to the Talmud, the oil kept the menorah lit for eight days, when the temple priests found more oil to light it with.

“We light the menorah every night during Hanukkah,” Kafka said, as she carefully lit each candle of the menorah in front of the crowd. “It’s a beautiful metaphor — Hanukkah happens on the darkest night of the year, and each night it gets a little brighter.

“There’s nothing wrong with standing up — the Maccabees stood up for what they believed in and defeated the Greeks,” Kafka said. “The story of Hanukkah is a story about knowing who you are and dedicating years to who you are. I hope people go forward into the holiday season, learning new things and becoming a stronger community.”

For Ellen Hoffman, of Shepherdstown, participating in the event reminded her of her Jewish heritage.

“This event was a first in town. I was curious about it, and thought I’d see what was going on,” Hoffman said, as she wrapped up a potato latke to take home to her husband. “I hadn’t had latkes in a long time.”