Monson family teaches communities about Jewish holiday tradition

MONSON, Maine (WABI) - It's that time of year when a lot of folks celebrate the Christmas season.
But, a family in Piscataquis County is eager to teach folks about their holiday tradition.

Rebecca Wentworth, Monson Resident, said, "I don't celebrate this with you, but, you don't celebrate this with me, but we can still share in those traditions."

Chanukah, also called the Festival of Lights, is a celebration of the Jewish victory over Greek oppression more than 2,000 years ago. The traditional miracle is that they only had enough oil to light their temple for one night but, it lasted for eight days.

"In this tradition, candles are placed right to left and lit left to right."

Melinda Wentworth said, "After you light the menorah, you sing songs and you play with the dreidel."

Food is a part of the tradition as well. Rebecca said, "Hard to beat a holiday where you get to eat a lot of fried food. That's like pretty great. It's an excuse to have a lot of fried potatoes."

Monson has a population of 700, but the Wentworth's decorated house may catch your eye during the holiday season. They say growing up, they were the only Jewish family in town.

Rebecca said, "We are going to make Christmas ornaments, I'd be the kid always being like, I'm going to make a Menorah or I'm going to make a dreidel."

Melinda Wentworth said the holidays are a time to celebrate, and we shouldn't forget there's more than one. Melinda explained, "In our country, we have a lot of people who celebrate Christmas whether religiously or just as a family celebration, and it's wonderful, but there are people who don't celebrate that. Let's enjoy what they're celebrating."

The hope is people will think outside of their traditions. Melinda said, "The world is getting smaller and smaller, and we need to honor and appreciate and embrace our differences."