December 28, 2018



169 B.C.

Miracle of Light:  After two hundred years of foreign tyranny and religious persecution, the Jewish people lit the sacred menorah on December 28, 169 B.C., to rededicate the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. The lights of the menorah remained lit for eight days, though there was not enough oil. It was the birth of the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah. Every night throughout the 8 day holiday, a candle or oil-based light is lit. The number of lights lit is increased by one each night.  An extra light called a shamash, meaning "attendant"  is also lit each night, and is given a distinct location, usually higher than the others.  In 2018 Hanukah began on December 2 and ended on December 10.  Hanukkah begins at the 25th day of Kislev and concludes on the 2nd or 3rd day of Tevet (Kislev can have 29 or 30 days). The Jewish day begins at sunset. In the year 2019 Hanuka will begin at Sunset, on December 22, 2019 until nightfall on December 30, 2019  After the lights have been kindled, there is a blessing of the candles (translation) "Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the Hanukkah light[s]." a Hebrew hymn is sung, translated, "We kindle these lights for the miracles and the wonders, for the redemption and the battles that you made for our forefathers, in those days at this season, through your holy priests. During all eight days of Hanukkah these lights are sacred, and we are not permitted to make ordinary use of them except for to look at them in order to express thanks and praise to Your great Name for Your miracles, Your wonders and Your salvations."


First U.S. Vice-President Resigned. John C. Calhoun held office as Vice President from March 4, 1825 to  December 28, 1832 during two Presidential administrations (of John Quincy Adams and of Andrew Jackson.) Calhoun is remembered for his strong support for the practice of slavery and for advancing the concept of minority party rights in politics. His objective was to protect the interests of the white South.  His political career was based on the ideologies of nationalism, states' rights, limited government, nullification, and opposition to high tariffs.  Calhoun was despised by Jackson and his supporters for his alleged attempts to subvert the unity of the nation for his own political gain. On his deathbed, Jackson regretted that he had not had Calhoun executed for treason. "My country," he declared, "would have sustained me in the act, and his fate would have been a warning to traitors in all time to come." Even after his death, Calhoun's reputation among Jacksonians remained poor. They disparaged him by portraying him as a man thirsty for power, who when he failed to attain it, sought to tear down his country with him.


First Woman MP in British House of Commons:  On December 28, 1918, Constance Georgine Markievicz became the first woman elected to the British House of Commons, however she did not take her seat. She was also the first woman in the world to hold a cabinet position as Minister for Labour from 1919 to 1922.   She was an Irish Fianna Fáil politician, a fervent revolutionary, nationalist, suffragette and socialist. She served as a Teachta Dála for the Dublin South constituency from 1921 to 1922 and 1923 to 1927. She was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Dublin St Patrick's from 1918 to 1922.   In 1909 Markievicz and Bulmer Hobson founded Fianna Éireann, a para-military nationalist scouting organisation that instructed teenage boys in the use of firearms.  On August 16, 1909, at its first meeting in Camden Street, Dublin, she was almost expelled because women were forbidden to join any physical force movement. But Hobson supported her, and she was elected to the committee. In 1911 at an Irish Republican Brotherhood demonstration attended by 30,000 supporters, she was arrested and jailed for the first time. They were protesting against King George V's visit to Ireland.  Markievicz died on July 15, 1917 at the age of 59, due to complications related to appendicitis. She had given away the last of her wealth, and died in a public ward "among the poor where she wanted to be".  One of the doctors attending her was her revolutionary colleague, Kathleen Lynn. Also at her bedside were Casimir and Stanislas Markievicz, Éamon de Valera and Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington.  Refused a state funeral by the Free State government, she was buried at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, and de Valera gave the funeral oration.

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