• Major Holidays





What is Chanukah

This holiday marks the miraculous victory of the Jewish people in their fight against the Greeks for religious liberty and national independence. It also marks the rededication of the Second Temple in 164 CE, after it was desecrated by Greek King Antiochus. The holiday is observed by lighting an eight-branched Hanukkah candelabra, adding a candle each night of the holiday.

When is Chanukah

Kislev 25 - Tevet 2





Source and Origin of Chanukah

No biblical sources. The Babylonian Talmud (Shabbat 21b) describes the laws of the holiday.

Alternate Names for Chanukah

  • Chag HaUrim – “The Festival of Lights”

Commandments (Mitzvot) of Chanukah

  • Lighting the Menorahstarting with one candle on the first night, a candle is added for each subsequent night of Chanukah. The addition of the candles serves as a reminder of the miracle of the oil, which lasted for eight days despite only being enough for one.

Customs of Chanukah

  • Eating foods cooked in oil – eating oily foods is a reminder of the miracle that occurred with oil. “Latkes” (potato pancakes) and “sufganiyot” (doughnuts) are common fried foods eaten on Chanukah.
  • Playing dreidel – A dreidel is a top with four Hebrew letters which stand for Nes gadol haya sham, meaning– A great miracle occurred there. In Israel, instead of the fourth letter shin, there is a peh, which means the saying is Nes gadol haya po — A great miracle occurred here. Children take turns spinning the dreidel, and depending on the side it lands on, give or get game pieces of gelt (chocolate coins or money) from the pot.

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