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Hanukkah History 101

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The Desecration of the Temple

Like Christmas, Hanukkah celebrates and commemorates events which happened a long time ago in Jerusalem. Around 200 BCE, Jews in the land of Israel were under the rule of the Syrian king, but were still allowed to follow their own religious beliefs. However, a new king named Antiochus IV came to power. Antiochus forbade the Jews from practicing their religion, killed many of them, and desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem by placing an altar to the Greek god Zeus inside it.