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Rabbi Chaim Bruk spent a quiet night on Sunday evening celebrating the first of eight days of Hanukkah with his family.

Bruk, co-CEO of Chabad Lubavitch of Montana, was grateful for the quiet evening with family after prepping for the busy week ahead filled with parties and parades, latkes and doughnuts, gelt and dreidels and love and light.

The Chabad Lubavitch community kicked of Hanukkah on Monday evening with a menorah lighting at the depot in downtown Livingston and plans to end the holiday with a parade and menorah lighting in downtown Bozeman on Sunday.

Hanukkah, often called the Festival of Lights, is celebrated over eight days. This year, the holiday started on Nov. 28 and will end on Dec. 6.

Hanukkah, also known as Chanukah, is a Jewish celebration commemorating the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The Jewish people had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt to reclaim the Temple.

For Bruk, this Hanukkah will be extra special. It will be the first that the Chabad Lubavitch community in Bozeman will be able to celebrate in their own synagogue.

“It’s incredible. It’s our own Montana Hanukkah miracle,” Bruk said.

Bruk has been trying to build a synagogue since moving here in 2007, but said God had different plans and the synagogue never came to fruition.

This year, Bruk said the community decided to sell the land originally allotted for a synagogue and bought an property near the Deaconess Hospital.

The Chabad Center, at 1610 Ellis St., held its first service in late September just in time for Yom Kippur.

“To have Hanukkah there after what we went through the last two years is even more special,” Bruk said. A Hanukkah “bash” is set for Tuesday evening in the new center.

Bozeman’s other Jewish synagogue, the Congregation Beth Shalom, also plans to hold several Hanukkah events this week. Two public candle lightings are scheduled Tuesday and Thursday hosted by Beth Shalom, as well as several events at the synagogue.

Amber Ikeman, the cantorial soloist at Beth Shalom, said events are open to anyone.

“At the synagogue, anybody is welcome,” she said.

Hanukkah events in the Bozeman area include:

Tuesday, Nov. 30

-The Congregation Beth Shalom plans to host a Chanukah Candle Lighting at the Bozeman Public Library at 4:30 p.m.

-The Hanukkah Bash, hosted by Chabad Lubavitch, is planned to have kosher delicacies, drinks and activities for families including face painting and balloon animals. The bash starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Chabad Center, at 1610 Ellis St., suite 2.

Thursday, Dec. 2

-Congregation Beth Shalom plans to host a menorah lighting on the Montana State University campus at 6 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 3

-Kabbalat Shabbat and Chanukah services are scheduled to be held at the Beth Shalom Synagogue. From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., there are planned activities for kids and families, with candle lighting, food, songs and a story. From 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. there are scheduled Shabbat and Chanukah services. After the service will be food and drinks.

Sunday, Dec. 5

-The Jewish movement Chabad Lubavitch of Montana plans to celebrate Hanukkah with a 28-car menorah parade traveling to Belgrade from the Chabad Center and ending at the First Security Bank in downtown Bozeman. There is planned a menorah lighting with MSU President Waded Cruzado, and refreshments after. The parade is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. and the menorah lighting will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the First Security Bank.

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Juliana Sukut can be reached at 582-2630 or

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