It’s beginning to look a lot like Hanukkah at NT

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During this holiday season, some people will be dreaming of latkes instead of gumdrops, and warming their hands by the menorah instead of the fire.
Sabrina Barkal, a New Trier Junior, has a traditional Hanukkah every year. “We eat latkes and light the candles. I like to play dreidel and eat the chocolate coins.”
According to Barkal, food is one of the most important aspects about Hanukkah. While at Christmas, a typical family meal consists of ham, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes, Hanukkah includes latkes, bimuelos, and sufganiyot.
According to Giora Shimoni of kosherfood.about.com, latkes are a form of potato pancakes, bimuelos are honey-drizzled puffs, and sufganiyot are a type of jelly-filled donut.
Alex Levine, another junior, agreed with Barkal about the food, “My family traditions consist of cooking a very typical Hanukkah meal of brisket, latkes, and other Jewish food.” Levine also enjoys playing dreidel with his sister Michelle.
Although food is a large part of celebrating Hanukkah, there are other equally important aspects according to Levine. “My favorite thing about Hanukkah is being able to spend time at my temple with people who share my religious beliefs.”
Similar to Levine, Barkal thinks it is important to notice the religious aspect of the holiday. She explained that the lighting of the menorah is done to symbolize the oil which burned for eight days.
Both Barkal and Levine are fine with the hype that Christmas gets instead of Hanukkah. However, according to Barkal, it would be nice if there were more Hanukkah songs and symbols because she knows all about the Christmas symbols and music due to their common presence.
Levine states, “My favorite Hanukkah song is the Hanukkah song by Adam Sandler.”
Whether this counts as a song of the holiday or not, Levine agrees that, other than Sandler’s tune, there aren’t nearly as many Hanukkah songs as Christmas tunes.
According to the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Hannukah begins this year on December 16 and ends on December 24.
The term Hanukkah means rededication. ifcj.org states that this is the name of the holiday because, “A group called the Maccabees, led by a man named Mattathias and his brothers, revolted against Hellenistic authorities. They regained control over the Temple, cleansed it from defilement, and rededicated it.”
The story of the Maccabees is about a group of Jews who were forced to accept the culture of the Greek and Syrian forces, but decided to fight back for their religion. ifcj.org says that they won the battle on the 25th day of Kislev, a Jewish calendar month, and that is why Hanukkah is celebrated during that time each year.
The other background story of the holiday tells the tale of faith in God. In old synagogues and temples, there always had to be an “eternal flame” lit, which represented that God’s presence is always among us.
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews says that there was once a temple which only had one flask of oil left. The temple was not supposed to receive more oil for eight more days, but the rabbi went ahead and lit the flame anyway.
“But they trusted in God, and a miracle occurred — the lamp that was only to last for one day stayed lit for eight days until the new oil arrived.” According to the ifcj.org, this is why Hanukkah lasts for eight days.
ifcj.org states, “Because it typically falls so close to Christmas, Hanukkah carries with it a message of hope, miracles, and bringing light into the world that is embraced by both Christians and Jews.”

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