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Can you smell the latkes in the oven? Getting your gifts in order? It's time for your little one's favorite holiday, Hanukkah! Oh what's that? You want to know more about how best to celebrate this year? Lucky for you we have all the Hanukkah resources laid out for you on this page. Just use the links below to find everything you will need to start your celebration!

History of Hanukkah | Hanukkah at Home | Latke Making Video 

What is Hanukkah? | Hanukkah Food Customs 

WATCH: Light Hanukkah Candles With HAMAKOM Clergy

How to: Hanukkah! For All Skill Levels

Click the buttons below for downloadable content that you can use to help celebrate Hanukkah this year with your loved ones and feel confident about it! 

Hanukkah Blessings .Mp3 (Audio File) - By Hazzan Mike Stein

 

Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah Song .Mp3 (Audio File) - By Hazzan Mike Stein

 

Maoz Tzur  .Mp3 (Audio File) - By Hazzan Mike Stein

 

Not By Might .Mp3 (Audio File) - By Hazzan Mimi Haselkorn

 

The Festival of Lights! What is it? 

Hanukkah, or the Festival of Rededication, celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its defilement by the Syrian Greeks in 164 BCE. Although it is a late addition to the Jewish liturgical calendar, the eight-day festival of Hanukkah has become a beloved and joyous holiday.

 

It is also known as the Festival of Lights and takes place in December, at the time of year when the days are shortest in the northern hemisphere. 

 

Like Pesach (Passover), Hanukkah is a holiday that celebrates the liberation from oppression. It also provides a strong argument in favor of freedom of worship and religion. In spite of the human action that is commemorated, never far from the surface is the theology that the liberation was possible only thanks to the miraculous support of God.

 

A Brief History... 

Beginning in 167 BCE, the Jews of Judea rose up in revolt against the oppression of King Antiochus IV Epiphanes of the Seleucid Empire. The military leader of the first phase of the revolt was Judah the Maccabee, the eldest son of the priest Mattityahu (Mattathias). In the autumn of 164, Judah and his followers were able to capture the Temple in Jerusalem, which had been turned into a pagan shrine. They cleansed it and rededicated it to Israel’s God. This event was observed in an eight-day celebration, which was patterned on Sukkot, the autumn festival of huts. Much later rabbinic tradition ascribes the length of the festival to a miraculous small amount of oil that burned for eight days.

 

Celebrating Hanukkah at Home

Central to the holiday is the lighting of the hanukkiah, an eight-branched candelabrum to which one candle is added on each day of the holiday until it is ablaze with light on the eighth day. (The Hanukkiah is also referred to — erroneously — as a Hanukkah menorah, but a true menorah has a total of only seven branches). 

 

Since Hanukkah is not biblically ordained, the liturgy for the holiday is not well developed. It is actually a quite minor festival. However, it has become one of the most beloved of Jewish holidays. In an act of defiance against those in the past and in the present who would root out Jewish practice, the observance of Hanukkah has assumed a visible community aspect. Jews will often gather for communal celebrations and public candle lighting. At such celebrations, Hanukkah songs are sung and traditional games such as dreidel are played.

Why Latkes? Why are we cooking with so much oil?

The custom to eat fried foods on Hanukkah was cited in the 12th century by Rabbi Maimon ben Yosef, the father of Maimonides, and it was already a long-established practice in his day.

Regarding Hanukkah, he writes that one “should not be lenient with any custom, not even the smallest. We must make every effort to prepare celebrations and foods that will publicize the miracle that God performed for us in those days. The accepted practice is to make ‘sufganin’…This is an ancient custom, because they are fried in oil, to commemorate God’s blessing.”

 

You will note that the Rambam’s father refers to “sufganin,” the same word as today’s “sufganiyot.” This is an ancient word for sponge cake that can be found in the Mishna and Talmud. From Kosher.com (Full Article Here)

 

Click below to learn the basics of latke making!


 

Tue, February 20 2024 11 Adar I 5784