Chanukkah - The celebration of lights

What is Hanukkah ?

Hanukkah also referred to as Chanukah meaning "dedication" in Hebrew. It refers to the joyous eight-day celebration during which Jews commemorate the victory of the Maccabees over the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. and the liberation of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Jewish families celebrate this holiday by lighting a special Hanukkah menorah, a candelabrum with holders for 8 candles, one for each day of celebration, plus a ninth, the shammash or “server”, used to light the others during Hanukkah. One candle is lit on the first night, two on the second, three on the third, through to the eighth night when all are lit.

Significance: Remembers the rededication of the Temple after it was defiled by the Greeks
Observances: Lighting candles
Length: 8 days
Customs: eating fried foods, rituals

This year Chanukah begins at sundown on Sun, 06 December 2015

History of Hanukkah

In 168 BCE Syrian tyrant, Antiochus Epiphanes sent his soldiers to Jerusalem and desecrated the Temple. Antiochus also tried to abolish Judaism by outlawing the observance of certain practices such as Shabbat and other festivals. On the 25th day of the Hebrew month OF Kislev in 168BCE, the temple was renamed for after the Greek god of Zeus altars and idols were set up for worshipping the Greek gods and were offered death or the option to convert. The Maccacbees developed against the cruelty of Antiochus Epiphanes and they wont 2 major battles.

Hanukkah is a festival that commemorates purification and rededication of the Temple and reminds Jewish adherents that they should re-dictate themselves and stand against forces that could possibly destroy Judaism and to try to keep the Jewish religion, culture and people hood alive so it can be passed down to future generations.

Importance of Candles

The candles are arranged on a candelabrum called a menorah (or sometimes called a chanukkiah) that holds nine candles: one for each night, plus a shammus (servant) candle is placed in the middle higher than the rest of the candles. Prayers are chanted or blessings are recited. The candles are lit left to right.

Two blessings are recited or chanted nightly. The first blessing is for the candles and second blessing expresses thanks for the miracle of deliverance. A special Shehechenyanu prayer is recited on the first night only.

Prayers when Lighting Candles

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tsivanu l'hadlik ner shel Hanukkah. Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to kindle the Hanukkah lights.
Big image


Dancing the Hora

Themes of Hanukkah

Themes that consist in the observance of the holiday are;

  • The refusal to submit to religious demands of an empire practising idolatry
  • The struggle against total assimilation in the Hellenistic culture
  • Loss of Jewish identity
  • Fighting for Jewish political autonomy and self determination

Ritual Objects

How to Play Dreidel


Work Cited

Judaism 101: Chanukkah. (n.d.). Retrieved June 9, 2015, from http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday7.htm

Hanukkah Foods - How-To - Chanukah - Hanukkah. (n.d.). Retrieved June 9, 2015, from http://www.chabad.org/holidays/chanukah/article_cdo/aid/597162/jewish/Hanukkah-Foods.htm

First Day of Hanukkah. (n.d.). Retrieved June 9, 2015, from http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/jewish/chanukah

More Information about the Torah Readings for Chanukah - Jewish Holidays. (2014, April 9). Retrieved June 9, 2015, from https://www.ou.org/holidays/chanukah/information-torah-readings-chanukah/

HORA - Origins of the dance. (n.d.). Retrieved June 9, 2015, from http://www.israelidances.com/hora-origins.htm

The Mystical Significance of the Mezuzah - Mezuzah. (n.d.). Retrieved June 9, 2015, from http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/82728/jewish/The-Mystical-Significance-of-the-Mezuzah.htm