“Did you know that that in Israel they eat over 18 million donuts during Hanukkah?”
Our 9-year-old meets me with questions every day when he gets off the school bus. It is something that I look forward to. It shows that he not only is paying attention and investing himself in learning at school, but it’s fun to pick up the factoids that he deems important to remember.
Our family isn’t Jewish and, to be honest, our knowledge of Hanukkah is very limited. Prior to very recently, I knew that it is a multiday holiday that falls prior to Christmas, it involves candles and a menorah, dreidel is the popular game to play and there is something about a miracle involving oil.
When brainstorming our holiday edition of Lake Country Living magazine, which is available now, the team thought it would be fun to venture outside of the Christmas holiday and acknowledge another of the holidays that fall this time of year. In my ignorance, I hit up social media with a request for a challah bread tutorial. Little did I know that challah bread really has nothing to do with Hanukkah.
Thankfully, Zachary Blumberg gave me a quick education and agreed to provide a tutorial for a more Hanukkah-appropriate dish, latkes. He also provided a brief explanation of Hanukkah, both of which we printed in Lake Country Living. (You should check it out — the kids even got involved!)
When our 9-year-old made his announcement about Hanukkah donuts, my natural response was to ask how he learned that. He told me that he had to choose a holiday that wasn’t Christmas for an assignment at school and he chose Hanukkah. We had a discussion and he filled me in on a bunch of factoids that I wasn’t aware of.
The discussion led to the decision to expand our knowledge of holidays and do some acknowledgment celebrating not only “our” holidays, but the holidays of those around us. This year, that holiday is Hanukkah.
Hanukkah begins the evening of Sunday, Nov. 28 and ends the evening of Monday, Dec. 6 this year. A festival of lights, Hanukkah acknowledges the miracle of one night’s worth of oil lasting eight full nights. Those who celebrate Hanukkah often eat foods fried in oil, exchange gifts and recite special prayers during this time.
Our acknowledgment of Hanukkah will consist of reading and learning about the holiday, making (and eating) latkes, enjoying some jelly donuts and playing with the dreidel for chocolate coins.
It may not seem like much of a celebration, but it’s a step in the direction of expanding our knowledge so our appreciation of differences in other households and cultures can grow.
So, from me to you, happy Hanukkah (on Sunday evening.)