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Happy Hanukkah !

Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah is a holiday of victory - when light triumphs over darkness, faith over obscurantism, and truth over power. A small number of Jews defeated their enemies, and the God who gave them the victory committed yet another miracle as a reward for their firmness in faith. A little bit of oil for was enough for eight days' burning for a Temple freed of foes. The Festival of Lights, the holiday of freedom and light, Hanukkah reminds Jews, wherever they live - in the State of Israel or the Diaspora - that a miracle can happen even in the darkest days.

In today's world, there are those who mortally hate us, who wish to exterminate the Jews, the Jewish state, and all the values that Jews brought into this world.

But we firmly believe that with God's help the people of Israel will live, the State of Israel will be strengthened, and all our enemies will perish as did perish the foes who had come before them.

Am Israel hai! Let the people of Israel live!

Hag Hanukkah sameah!

Merry and bright Hanukkah to you, dear friends!

Chanukah is an exciting holiday with lots of fun things happening. Here's a really short rundown of what we do: We light the Menorah on each of the eight nights of Chanukah, 20-28 December, to commemorate the miracles of Chanukah. We also play dreidel and eat lots of fried foods (pass the French fries please!).

How To Light The Menorah
We place candles in the Menorah from right to left, but we light the candles from left to right.

The shamash, servant candle (the candle we use to light the Chanukah lights), is lit first each night and is used to light all the other candles. This is because we're forbidden to actually use the Chanukah lights for anything, even to light another candle on the menorah.

IMPORTANT: On Friday evening, December 30th, light the Menorah before candle-lighting time.

Now that you know the basics, are you ready to light?

A. Light the Shamash. The Shamash, or servant candle, will be used to light the menorah.

B. Say the blessings. On the first night of Chanukah say blessings, 1, 2 and 3; on all other nights recite blessings 1 and 2.

1. Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.
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. Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.
2. Bo-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-z'man Ha-zeh.

3. Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.
3. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hea-nu Me-lech Ha-olam She-heche-ya-nu Ve-ki-yi-ma-nu Ve-higi-a-nu Liz-man Ha-zeh.

C. Light the candles. On the first night light the first candle, on the second night, light the second candle first, starting from the left and moving on to the right; and so on every night of Chanukah.

D. It is customary to sit by the Chanukah lights and sing traditional Chanukah songs.

Chanukah Customs

Fried Foods It is a custom to eat foods fried in oil, to remind us of the miracle that took place with the oil (the oil lasted for 8 days!), like potato latkes (pancakes), or doughnuts.

Dairy Foods It is also customary to eat dairy foods to remind us of the heroism of Yehudit.

Yehudit, the daughter of Yochanan the High Priest, is remembered on Chanukah for her courage in driving the Greeks from her town. She won the confidence of Holofernes, a Greek general and convinced him that the time was right to capture her town.

When he invited her to celebrate with him, she gave him salty cheese she'd prepared for the occasion, which he washed down with so much wine he passed out drunk. Yehudit then beheaded the general and brought her "prize" home, where it was openly displayed. When the Greeks saw that their leader was dead, they fled in fear, and the Jews won a great victory.

In remembrance of Yehudit's heroic act, it is a tradition to eat dairy foods on Chanukah.

Chanukah Gelt
It is customary to give Chanukah gelt (money) to children (except on Shabbat). It adds to the festive spirit of the holiday and provides funds for children to give to charity, so go ahead, give some of the money you receive to charity!

Dreidel The Dreidel, also called sevivon, dates back to the time of the Chanukah story. Because learning Torah was punishable by death, the Jews would hide in caves to study.

If found by Greek soldiers, they would pull out their dreidels and pretend they were just playing a game. We remind ourselves of their courage at that time, by playing the game of Dreidel during the holiday of Chanukah today.

Happy Chanukah!


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