The convergence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving is a rare thing indeed.

It is the first time since 1888 that the events occur on the same day, a spectacle that won't happen for another 77,798 years.

"It's just that the Jewish calendar runs on the lunar calendar," said Frank Katz, post commander for Jewish War Veterans Post 320 and a professor of information technology at Armstrong Atlantic State University.

"Our calendar is quite different, and this is just the most incredible coincidence."

In cooperation with the Jewish Educational Alliance, congregations Mickve Israel, Bnai Brith Jacob, Agudath Achim and MorningStar Cultural Arts Group, the local Jewish community will celebrate the holiday, as well as 280 years of Jewish presence in Savannah, with a torch relay.

Over the course of the 4.8-mile relay, stations at the four stops along the route, including Mickve Israel and the JEA, will have donation boxes for the charity project "Warm-Up Winter" that accepts gently used winter coats and blankets.

Participants at each location will be treated to gelt (holiday chocolate coins) and other gifts while they cheer along the torch runners and anyone who signs up to run, walk or jog the course.

All community members, regardless of their denomination, are encouraged to sign up.

"It was designed, really, symbolically, for a handful of people to carry the torch to the next generation," said Carol Greenberg of the MorningStar Group.

Maj. Ken Chanin, U.S. Air Force, retired, who recently ended his tour with 15th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Stewart, will lead the torch relay from the starting point to the first checkpoint.

"I'm so honored to do it," Chanin said.

"The big thing is collecting warm clothing - we might have a cold winter this year based on the past few days. Also, just bringing together the Jewish communities."

Katz will be the last torch bearer between Bnai Brith Jacob and the JEA.

"I think it's a worthwhile thing to do and I think it's important for people to understand what Hanukkah is all about," Katz said.

"When we arrive at the JEA, we light the first candle on the menorah. I think the explanation there will go a bit further to explain what the holiday is about."

Commonly referred to as the Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration to commemorate the Maccabees' rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Each year, the holiday begins on the 25th day of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, which can translate to a range of days in either November or December on the Gregorian calendar.