Hanukkah 2013: The Jewish Festival of Lights Explained

Hanukkah (aka Chanukkah) is the Jewish festival of lights and one of the most joyous celebrations of the Judaic calendar, including present-giving, game playing and the consumption of diet-busting delicacies. Hanukkah begins at sunset on November 27, 2013, and ends in the evening of December 5.

‘They Tried to Destroy Us, We Won Thanks to God, Let’s Eat!’ Read more…here

Hanukkah Four generation of Jews from central Asia light the candlesHanukkah: Four generation of Jews from central Asia light the candles

In Jamaica, Hanukkah means Freedom

Hanukkah is the eight-day holiday commemorating the miracle of the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Revolt of the Maccabees in the 2nd century BCE. One of the major observances is the kindling of the lights in an eight-branched Hanukkah Menorah, also called a Hanukkiah. As in the rest of the Diaspora, this Jewish holiday is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Jamaica. Read more…here

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 Hanukkah in Kingston Jamaica

 Wishing You Hanukkah Lovin’

jewish children

The miracle of Chanukah is not just about a little bit of oil lasting eight days. It is about the inner healing light within each of us. Chanukah is a time when we can celebrate this inner healing light as we move toward wellness. Chanukah is also about the miracle of survival against all odds, about hope, courage and belief in one’s ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Chanukah Candle-Lighting Blessings

First night:
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our bodies.

Second night:
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our minds.

Third night:
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our souls.

Fourth night:
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our children.

Fifth night:
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our parents.

Sixth night:
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our communities.

Seventh night:
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the restoration of health and wellness to those who are ill, suffering, or grieving.

Eighth night:
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our world.

Shamash:
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows through the Shekinah, the Source of Healing Wisdom and Inner Light.

Special thanks to Rabbi Malka Drucker, whose Hanukkah teaching can be found at malkadrucker.com

The Best Singin’ & Dancin’ Hanukkah Candles, ever!

Happy HanukkahClick on the picture link, then click on each candle. Select the Shamash (red center candle) to start or stop.

Mi yimalel gvurot Yisrael, Otan mi yimne?

Hen be’chol dor yakum ha’gibor

Goel ha’am!

Shma! Ba’yamim ha’hem ba’zman ha’ze

Maccabi moshia u’fode

U’v’yameinu kol am Yisrael

Yitached yakum ve’yigael!

Who can retell the things that befell us, Who can count them?

In every age, a hero or sage

Came to our aid.

Hark! In days of yore in Israel’s ancient land

Brave Maccabeus led the faithful band

But now all Israel must as one arise

Redeem itself through deed and sacrifice.

NACOEJ Ethiopian Embroidery Program. Stunning craftmanship!

NACOEJ - Ethiopian Jewish EmbroideryHandmade Embroidered Artwork can be order at: North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry (NACOEJ)

 DID YOU KNOW?

…in Germany, the eighth and last night of Chanukah used to be very special. All the leftover wicks and oil were lit in giant bonfires. People sang songs and danced around the fire, often until the small hours of the night.

…in Yemen it was the tradition to light bon fires according to the days of hanukkah

…Turkish Jews make candles from the flax fibers used to wrap the etrog. The remains of these Chanukah candles are then melted together to make another candle used to search for bread crumbs pre-Passover.

…If you are an Ashkenazi Jew (of European ancestry) it is traditional for every family member to light a hanukkiah (menorah). If you are a Sephardi (descended from Spain and Portuguese Jews) only the head of the household lights the hanukkiah.

Sfenj (Moroccan Hanukkah Doughnuts)-c71e5d9a63fc3479

Ingredients

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2-3/4 to 3 cups of warm water (about 100 degrees), divided
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Honey, for drizzling on cooked doughnuts

Instructions

In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. In a small bowl, dissolve active dry yeast and sugar in one cup of the warm water. Set aside until the mixture becomes foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add the yeast mixture to the flour and add 1-3/4 cups water. If the dough is heavy and a bit dry, add remaining water. Dough should be soft and smooth, but no so soft that it seems like batter.

Stir the dough until you get a nice, somewhat sticky mixture.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour. With oiled hands, reach under the dough and bring the bottom to the top and fold over. Repeat 3 to 4 more times until the dough has completely deflated. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again until doubled, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Heavily flour a work surface. Flour your hands well and pull off a small handful of dough and squeeze it in your hand to get a single small ball of dough the size of a golf ball. Toss the ball in the flour and using your thumb, poke a hole all the way through the dough ball. Stretch the ball into a doughnut shape, about 3-1/2-inches wide. Lay on the floured surface and repeat with remaining dough.

In a heavy skillet, heat 2 inches of canola oil to 350 degrees over medium-high heat. Working in batches of 4 to 6 doughnuts (depending on the size of your skillet), gently slide doughnuts into the oil, being careful not to splash. Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes each side.

Transfer doughnuts to a plate lined with a paper towel, and allow to drain and cool slightly. Drizzle lightly with honey before serving.

The story of the Maccabees still speak to us today, lighting our homes with faith and filling our hearts with pride.

Hanukkah, Artist Varda Livney

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