Celebrate the Season: Israel

The Festival of Lights!

Hanukah is a holiday of freedom and faith, celebrating the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks and commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. According to tradition, when the Jews cleaned the temple, they found only a small container of oil, enough to light their holy lamps for just one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days, until new oil could be made and purified.
Often called the Festival of Lights, it begins on the eve of the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev (usually in December), and lasts for 8 nights. Hanukah begins on the 21st this year! This holiday is usually celebrated by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, called the Menorah or “Hanukah”  Traditional Menorahs consist of eight branches with an additional branch to hold the candle called a “shamash”, Hebrew for “attendant”, which is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. The shamash is used to light the other candles, lighting from right to left.  A candle is lit for each night of Hanukah, celebrating each night the oil lasted.
It’s popular for children to receive gifts for each night of Hanukah, and to spin the dreidel, a four-sided top with Hebrew letters written on each side. Chocolate coins covered in tin foil called Gelt are part of this game. And because Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of oil, it’s traditional to eat fried foods such as latkes. Latkes are pancakes made out of potatoes and onions, which are fried in oil and then served with applesauce.

Enjoy the Season!

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