Family of high priest Mattathias and his son Judah, who revolted against oppressive Antiochus, king of Syria, a Selucid Greek; Judah cleansed the Temple after defilement by the Syrians. The Jews remained free, ruled by the Maccabees (family name: Hasmonaean) until 63 BC. The Maccabee symbol of a palm branch became a national symbol of freedom. Hanukkah (or the Feast of Dedication) celebrated Judah Maccabee’s cleansing of the Temple.


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