25 Kislev 5773 / First candle December 8, 2012
Chanukah, meaning "dedication" in Hebrew, refers to the joyous eight-day celebration during which Jews commemorate the victory of the Maccabees over the armies of the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E. and the subsequent liberation and "re-dedication" of the Temple in Jerusalem. The modern home celebration of Chanukah centers around the lighting of the chanukiyah, a special menorah for Chanukah; unique foods, latkes and jelly doughnuts; and special songs and games.
From the website of the Union for Reform Judaism.
Take Chanukah Home With You!
The Festival Committee has some ideas for you. Let's expand on the usual:
• Have a Chanukah party, but it doesn't have to be traditional. Light the menorah and provide some dreidls and Chanukah gelt, but you don't have to serve latkes and you don't have to stick with the same old. You could have an adult dinner party, or a pizza party. You could have a dance party, or a snowman-building party.
• Kids can be encouraged to put on skits or puppet shows using the Chanukah story.
• Have a game night! Dreidls aren't the only way to go. Have a bunch of board games, play cards, or have a Texas Hold 'Em event. Donate the proceeds to charity if you like.
• Don't forget holiday decorations. You can make or buy them and children love to create those chains made of construction paper loops.
• If you give gifts for Chanukah, give some of them a Jewish theme. Give a Chai necklace, personal menorahs, Chanukah books, or toys that are Jewish-related, such as Chanukah stickers, cookie cutters, or puzzles. There are a wealth of toys, games and books you can find with a quick Google search.
• Make your own menorah or oil lamp. There are kits you can buy, or just use a block of wood. Check out jewishcrafts.com.
• Instead of just handing over gifts, make a treasure hunt for each child to follow. Each clue leads to a new hiding place.
• Have a scavenger hunt with Jewish objects as the things you have to get, such as a knish, a purple kippah, the largest possible dreidl, or a neighbor who can tap dance to a Chanukah song.
Take photos of your activities and send them to the Temple office!
Some useful web sites:
1. On this website, click on “Marketplace” at the bottom of any page. See OyToys for gifts! Shopping at OyToys through our website earns revenue for the Temple (but costs you nothing additional).
2. We also like www.traditionsjewishgifts.com or www.bargainjudaica.com.