When in doubt we turn the holidays into homeschool lesson plans. We celebrate just about every holiday around here, so it makes my life easy to let the holidays guide the way! Next holiday up? Hanukkah
What is Hanukkah?
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday also called the Festival of Lights, honoring the struggle of ancient Jews to restore the Temple of Jerusalem. Lasting for eight days, Hanukkah revolves around the menorah that holds nine candles. Hanukkah is the Hebrew term for rededication — and during the 2nd century B.C. the Temple in Jerusalem was rededicated. Traditions included in this Festival of Lights are the menorah, the game of dreidel and fried foods, such as latkes and jelly doughnuts…. Oh my!
When is Hanukkah?
In 2015, the first night of the menorah candle lighting is Dec 6, and the last night will be Thursday, Dec. 14. It’s a different date every year.
How do you celebrate Hanukkah? Here is what we do!
Get creative with this recipe, you can use anything from beets to kimchi!
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled or Parsnips or Kimchi!
1/4 cup finely-chopped shallots
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons almond flour or matzo meal (during Passover)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt and freshly ground black pepper
Coconut oil for frying
Grate or shred potatoes. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and transfer potatoes to the sieve or layer in paper towels to reduce moisture. Set sieve over a bowl, then twist cheesecloth into a pouch, squeezing out some moisture. Let mixture drain for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour off liquid from the bowl but leave the white potato starch that settles in the bottom of the bowl.
To that starch add shallots, eggs, flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and freshly ground pepper. Return drained potatoes to this mixture and toss to combine.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking pan with paper towels. When you are ready to eat, in a large skillet heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium-high heat until hot. Drop heaping tablespoons of potato mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes a side. Latkes should be golden and crisp on both sides.
Eat right away or keep warm in oven. Serve with applesauce, sour cream or cottage cheese mixed with sour cream.
Jewish Stick Symbols – Go on a nature walk and collect some sticks. Paint them with paint and glitter, wrap them with yarn, cover them with washi tape, whatever you want, and then glue them into Jewish symbols. Try a star of David, a dreidel or even a Hanukkiah.
Make a Recycled Dreidel Garland – Cut out dreidels from old shopping bags and decorate them.
Make Dreidel Wall Art from your child’s art – Take your child’s art that’s just sitting around and cut it into dreidel shapes and glue it onto a frame
Play ART Dreidel – Change the rules to the classic dreidel game. Get out some driedel, paper and markers. Gimmel means draw a head. Nun means draw eyes. Shin means draw a mouth. Etc. The first person to draw a face wins.
Light the Menorah
1. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech ha-olam a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mitz-vo-tav ve-tzi-va-nu le-had-lik ner Cha-nu-kah.
2. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam she-a-sa ni-sim la-avo-te-nu ba-ya-mim ha-hem bi-zman ha-zeh.
3. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam she-heche-ya-nu ve-ki-yi-ma-nu ve-higi-a-nu liz-man ha-zeh.
1. Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.
2. Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.
3. Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.
How to Play the Dreidel Game
Any number of people can play the dreidel game. At the beginning of the game each player is given an equal number of gelt pieces or candy, usually 10-15.
At the beginning of each round, every player puts one piece into the center “pot.” They then take turns spinning the dreidel, with the following meanings assigned to each of the Hebrew letters:
- Nun means “nichts,” which means “nothing” in Yiddish. If the dreidel lands with a nun facing up the spinner does nothing.
- Gimmel means “ganz,” which is Yiddish for “everything.” If the dreidel lands with the gimmel facing up the spinner gets everything in the pot.
- Hey means “halb,” which means “half” in Yiddish. If the dreidel lands with a hey facing up the spinner gets half of the pot.
- Shin means “shtel,” which is Yiddish for “put in.” Pey means “pay.” If the dreidel lands with either a shin or a pey facing up the player adds a game piece to the pot.
If a player runs out of game pieces they are “out.”