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Calendar for December 9th, 2012

First Day of Chanukah

This eight-day Jewish festival began at sundown yesterday. The festival commemorates events that took place in Judea more than 2,000 years ago, when the Syrian king Antiochus ordered the Jews to abandon the Torah and publicly worship the Greek gods. This act provoked a rebellion led by Judas Maccabeus, climaxed by the retaking of the Temple in Jerusalem, which had been desecrated by the Syrians. In an eight-day celebration, the Maccabees (as the rebels came to be known) cleansed and rededicated the Temple (Chanukah means "dedication"). According to the Talmud, there was only enough consecrated oil to relight the candelabra for one day, yet, miraculously, it remained lit for eight days. The central feature of the observance of Chanukah is the nightly lighting of the Chanukiah, an eight-branched candelabra with a place for a ninth candle, the shammes, used to light the others. One candle is lit on the first night of Chanukah, and an additional candle is lit on each successive night, until, on the eighth night, the Chanukiah is fully illuminated.


  • 1621: Robert Cushman gave first known sermon in the "United States," in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts

  • 1790s

  • 1793: Noah Webster established The American Minerva, NY's first daily newspaper

  • 1860s

  • 1862: Canada's first coin club formed

  • 1880s

  • Born 1886: Clarence Birdseye (businessman)

  • 1890s

  • Born 1899: Jean de Brunhoff (author of Babar books)

  • 1910s

  • Born 1916: Kirk Douglas (actor)

  • 1920s

  • Born 1922: Redd Foxx (actor)

  • 1930s

  • Born 1934: Dame Judi Dench (actress)

  • 1935: First Heisman Trophy awarded to Jay Berwanger

  • 1935: Lincoln letter sold for $748,000

  • 1939: Quebec adopted a new coat of arms

  • 1940s

  • 1940: British troops opened their first major offensive in North Africa during World War II

  • Born 1941: Beau Bridges (actor)

  • 1950s

  • 1951: Bob Waterfield became the first professional football player to kick 5 field goals in one game

  • Born 1953: John Malkovich (actor)

  • Born 1957: Donnie Osmond (entertainer)

  • 1960s

  • Born 1962: Felicity Huffman (actress)

  • 1968: Public debut of the computer mouse, in San Francisco

  • 1970s

  • Born 1978: Jesse Metcalfe (actor)

  • 1990s

  • 1990: Marguerite d'Youville became first Canadian-born saint

  • 2000s

  • Died 2003: Paul Simon (5-term Democratic congressman and 2-term senator from Illinois who ran unsuccessfully for presidential nomination in 1988)

  • Died 2006: Georgia Gibbs (singer)

  • Died 2009: Gene Barry (actor)

  • 2010s

  • Born 2013: Twin polar bear cubs were born at the Hellabrunn Zoo, Munich, Germany

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