Hanukkah 2010 December 1st
Hannukka is the Jewish festival of lights. Also known as: Chanukkah Menorah, Hannukkah Menorah or Hanukkiyah.
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights. It starts on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with late November - late December on the secular calendar.
In Hebrew, the word "hanukkah" means "dedication." The name reminds us that this holiday commemorates the rededication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 BCE [Before the Christian Era]
A *hanukkiyah is a candelabrum with eight candleholders in a row, plus the all important ninth candleholder set a little above the others.
It's different from a menorah, which has seven branches and was used in the Temple before it was destroyed in 70 CE. A hanukkiyah is nevertheless a kind of menorah.
The hanukkiyah is used during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and commemorates the miracle of the oil. According to the Hanukkah story, once Jewish revolutionaries had retaken the Temple from the Syrians they wanted to rededicate it to God and restore its ritual purity.
Eight days worth of oil were needed to complete the ritual purification, but they were only able to find one day's worth of oil. They lit the menorah anyway and miraculously the oil lasted for eight full days.
According to Jewish law, Hanukkah is one of the less important Jewish holidays. However, Hanukkah has become much more popular in modern practice because of its proximity to Christmas. Because many Jews live in predominately Christian societies, over time Hanukkah has become much more festive and Christmas-like. Jewish children receive gifts for Hanukkah - often one gift for each of the eight nights of the holiday. Many parents hope that by making Hanukkah extra special their children won't feel left out of all the Christmas festivities going on around them.
In the USA and the UK where Santa Claus rules the month of December, some Jews have incorporated a little bit of Christmas into their Hanukkah spirit. Some families opt to give gifts each night of Hanukkah; others may decorate their house with a "Hanukkah bush." Even though the two holidays have vastly different religious and historical origins and focus, both Christmas and Hanukkah are a beautiful opportunity to open up one's house and heart and spread some joy.
Every community has its unique Hanukkah traditions, but there are some traditions that are almost universally practiced. They are: lighting the hanukkiyah, spinning the dreidel and eating fried foods.
Lighting the hanukkiyah: Every year it is customary to commemorate the miracle of the Hanukkah oil by lighting candles on a hanukkiyah. The hanukkiyah is lit every night for eight nights.
Spinning the Dreidel
Any number can play. Each player has a bank of 10-15 pieces of candy, or small coins. At the start everyone puts one of their pieces into the pot. When it's your turn you spin the driedel, depending on which face is uppermost you give or recieve pieces from the communal pot.
Because Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of oil, it is traditional to eat fried foods such as latkes and sufganiyot during the holiday. Latkes are pancakes made out of potatoes and onions, which are fried in oil and then served with applesauce.
Sufganiyot (singular: sufganiyah) are jelly-filled doughnuts that are fried and sometimes dusted with confectioners' sugar before eating. See picture right.
Jokes for Hanukka
The Amusing Story of the 2 Sweaters
My mother once gave me two sweaters for Hanukkah. The next time we visited, I made sure to wear one.
As we entered her home, instead of the expected smile, she said, 'Aaron, what's the matter? You didn't like the other one?'
Rudi, The Village Rabbi: A Short Joke to Laugh At
Rudi, the Rabbi, was called upon to help solve the problem. He said, 'Don't worry, you can substitute matzo meal for the flour, and the latkes will be just as delicious.'
Sarah looks to her husband and says, 'Samuel, you think it'll work?'
'Of course,' Samuel replies, 'Everybody knows Rudolph the Rab knows grain, dear.'
If Your Computer were Jewish
Your "Start" button would be replaced with a "Let's go. I'm not getting any younger" button.
Year 2000 problems are replaced by "Year 6000" problems.
Internet Explorer would now have a spinning "Star of David" in the upper right corner.
The Eight Days of Hanukkah
On the first night of Hanukkah my true love gave to me
On the second night of Hanukkah, my true love gave
the third night of Hanukkah, my true love gave to me
the fourth night of Hanukkah, my true love gave to me
On the fifth night of Hanukkah, my true love gave to me
sixth night of Hanukkah, my true love gave to me
On the seventh
night of Hanukkah, my true love gave to me
On the eighth night of Hanukkah, my true love gave to me
*Kugel is a baked Jewish pudding or casserole, similar to a pie, most commonly made from egg noodles or potatoes.
2010 December 1st to December 9th
NB. The Jewish calendar date begins at sundown of the night beforehand, Will and Guy have learned. Thus all holiday observances begin at sundown on the secular dates listed, with the following day being the first full day of the holiday. Jewish calendar dates conclude at nightfall.
Happy Chanukah from Will and Guy
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