A giant 6-foot menorah will be lit again this year at the state Capitol to celebrate Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights.

Last year was the first-ever public menorah lighting at the Capitol and was led by “roving rabbis” who traveled the region throughout the holiday.

Rabbi Yonah Grossman of Fargo will officiate at this year’s menorah lighting at 4 p.m. Thursday at the state Capitol, 600 E. Boulevard Ave., Bismarck.

Rabbi Grossman and his wife, Esti, recently moved to Fargo and founded the Chabad Jewish Center of North Dakota to encourage the continuity of North Dakota and South Dakota’s Jewish history. They will provide for Jewish needs in the area and create cultural and educational programs to enrich Jewish identity and awareness.

Hanukkah is an eight-day festival that begins on the eve of the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev (Dec. 9 this year) and commemorates the reclamation of the Temple in Jerusalem by a small band of Jews who defeated a Seleucid army who sought to forcibly Hellenize the people of Israel more than 2,100 years ago.

Tradition says that when the Jews sought to light the Temple’s menorah, or seven-branched candelabrum, only a single cruse of olive oil had escaped deliberate contamination and that the one-day supply miraculously burned for eight days until ritually pure oil could be prepared.

During Hanukkah, an additional flame is lighted each night until all eight lights are kindled on the eighth night.

Potato pancakes, or latkes, are traditionally served at Hanukkah. Rabbi Grossman will provide latkes for the Thursday event.

The Chabad Jewish Center in Fargo is at 3310 16th Ave. S.

For more information, call 701-318-1878 or email rabbi@jewishnorthdakota.com.

Reach Karen Herzog at 701-250-8267 or karen.herzog@bismarcktribune.com.