Lifeline Connections


Holiday Spotlight: Hanukkah

Holiday Spotlight: Hanukkah

There are many holidays celebrated around the world and at times around in our own neighborhood. One of the more common holidays in December aside from Christmas is Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah). Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish celebration also known as the “festival of lights”. There are special prayers, fried foods, and a nightly lighting of the menorah.

In Hebrew, Hanukkah (Chanukah) means dedication because it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple.

Hanukkah history

This holiday developed approximately 2100 years ago when Israel came under the rule of the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus. Antiochus outlawed the study of Torah (The Five Books of Moses and overall Jewish religious teachings, law, practice, and tradition) and tried to force his ideology and rituals among the Jewish people. A very small group of Jewish people came together against the Greek armies and were able to drive them out of the land. When they reclaimed their Holy Temple it was the 25th of Kislev (the Hebrew month of November – December). The small group of people went to light the Temple’s menorah but found the Greeks contaminated all but one small amount of oil that would only last one night. Back then, it would take eight days to get new oil. However, the supply ended up lasting eight days and nights, thus the holiday Hanukkah was born.

Lighting the menorah

Jewish people light the candles on the menorah one at a time each night, for a total of eight nights. On Friday afternoon, they light the menorah before the Shabbat (day of rest/cessation of work) candles. During this time there are special blessings before they light the menorah and traditional singing.

Hanukkah foods

Fried foods are traditional. The foods are typically potato latke (pancake) with applesauce or sour cream. But a favorite is the jelly-filled sufganya (doughnut).

Other Hanukkah traditions

One of the other popular Hanukkah traditions is to play with a dreidel. A dreidel is a four-sided top with the Hebrew letters nun, gimmel, hei, and shin. Prizes are coins, nuts, or other items.

Hanukkah gelt is money for children. It rewards good behavior and their Torah study. Similarly, the money gives the kids a chance to give tzedakah (charity). Additionally, a newer foil-covered chocolate gelt is a gift.

Whatever your own holiday traditions are, everyone here at Lifeline Connections wishes you healthy happy holidays!

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit sed do eiusmod tempor