VESTAL (WBNG) -- Tuesday evening marked the start of the Jewish holiday Hanukkah, the festival of lights.
Rabbi Levi Slonim from Chabad explained, in the Jewish tradition, the holiday celebrates miracles, one being that in ancient times a single serving of oil lasted the Jewish people eight days.
Today, to celebrate, a menorah or nine-branched candelabrum is lit every night to commemorate each day the oil lasted.
Rabbi explained how the menorah should be set in the window or doorway of a home so the public and community can see the light because the light is a central message of the holiday.
"There's a big emphasis to spread this miracle and to spread the message of Hanukkah, the message of the light and bring the message of the ultimate victory of light over darkness wherever we can," he said.
He added in tough times the message especially rings true as he explained how the message behind Hanukkah is for everyone, "it's not just a Jewish message but universal."
He said everyone in the community can take part in the mitzvah or good deed by spreading the light themselves.
"Spread light do an act of kindness, call someone you haven't spoken to in a long time, call a family member call a loved one, just add an act of kindness and light and that's the message of Hanukkah," he said.
Chabad held a candle lighting ceremony for the community on Monday night. He said various celebrations will take place throughout the holiday.