Chanukah begins tonight; kindle one light this evening.
358 BCE- The cornerstone for the Second Beit HaMikdash was laid. In the first year of the rule of Cyrus, the King of Persia, Jews were given permission to return to Eretz Yisroel, and rebuild the Beit HaMikdash. A group of Jews led by Zerubavel set out for Yerushalayim and began working on the second Beit HaMikdash. However, the Cutheans falsely accused the Jews of plotting a rebellion against King Cyrus and were successful in halting the construction of the Beit HaMikdash for the remainder of his reign and throughout the reign of Ahasuerus, his successor. Construction resumed in the second year of the reign of Darius, Ahasuerus's son, on the 24th of Kislev.
354 BCE- Chaggai prophesied the downfall of Persia and the salvation of the Jews. In 354 BCE, the prophet Chaggai encouraged the Jews to rebuild the Beit HaMikdash -- a construction project which had begun 18 years earlier, but was halted due to political pressure. The Beit HaMikdash would stand for 420 years, before being destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. On this same day, Chaggai prophesied the downfall of the great Persian empire, which would ultimately lead to the salvation of the Jews. This is recorded in the Book of Chaggai, chapter 2.
December 9, 1917- The British captured Yerushalayim from the Ottoman Turkish Empire.
December 22, 1970- The commander of Treblinka, Franz Stangl, was sentenced to life in prison. More than 400,000 Jews were murdered in just 15 months, in Treblinka.