Lakenheath starts Hanukkah tradition
RAF LAKENHEATH — About 25 people gathered in front of the RAF Lakenheath chapel last week for a rare Hanukkah service.
The service on Thursday included the lighting of candles on an eight-foot tall menorah and a short sermon by Chaplain Henry Soussan, a captain and rabbi attached to the Military Intelligence Battalion at RAF Menwith Hill.
Hanukkah commemorates the victory of Jewish rebels, known as Maccabees, over the Greeks in 165 B.C. The eight-day holiday also honors the rededication of the Temple at Jerusalem, which was desecrated by the Greeks.
The lighting of an eight-candle menorah symbolizes the Jewish miracle when one day’s worth of oil fueled the temple’s eternal flame for eight days.
“Hanukkah is a holiday of freedom,” Soussan said, referring to the Jews’ victory over oppression. “They were able to drive out the Greeks and establish their own religion.”
Soussan lit the first candle of the menorah following a blessing in Hebrew. Others in the crowd were invited to light the rest of the candles.
Tech. Sgt. Bradley Silverstein, a 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron noncommissioned officer, was one of them.
“I wanted to show my faith,” Silverstein said of why he attended the Hanukkah service.
Chaplains at the Lakenheath chapel were not aware if a Hanukkah service had ever been held at the chapel. However, they did say that they plan to hold another next year.
“It’s very symbolic to have Jewish and Christian chaplains working together for our people. It’s a sign of hope and faith,” Soussan said.
Members of the Jewish Chabad Lubavitch Center in London provided the menorah for the service.