Hanukkah, meaning “dedication” in Hebrew, refers to the joyous eight-day celebration during which Jews commemorate the victory of the Macabees over the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. and the subsequent liberation and “re-dedication” of the Temple in Jerusalem.

The modern home celebration of Hanukkah centers around the lighting of the hanukkiah, a special menorah for Hanukkah; unique foods, latkes and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts); and special songs and games.

Hanukkah at Home

A “wonder-full, worship-full” experience

Most of the popular rituals of Hanukkah are practiced at home. While the lighting of the menorah takes center stage, there are many meaningful ways to light up your family’s holiday celebration.

FOOD: The tradition of eating food cooked in oil reminds us of the legend of the long-lasting cruse of oil found during the Temple clean-up. Find recipes in books and magazines and do a latke or sufganiot tasting!

GIFTS: Choose one night of Hanukkah to pick an organization everyone in the family agrees on, and give a donation instead of giving gifts to each other. Or shop together for gifts that can be donated – food to a food bank or articles of clothing to an organization that helps those in need. Doing acts of Tikkun Olam together as a family can make your Hanukkah more meaningful.

DREIDEL: While the dreidel game might have originated as a German gambling game, it holds the central meaning of Hanukkah within the driedel’s four walls – Ness, Gadol, Haya, Sham – A Great Miracle Happened There!

MUSIC: Find Hanukkah songs on line, on iTunes, in stores. The joy of music enlivens our worship services at Temple Emanu-El. Let it do the same for your family at home.

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