Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hanukkah - Guest Post by Alli Stilp

putting the finishing touches on the poster
Alli's monthly project for December/January was to pick a holiday she doesn't celebrate, research it, and write a report.  She also has to give an oral presentation to her class on what she studied.  She chose to study Hanukkah and I was excited to study with her. 

We checked out books from the library and read them together.  We exclaimed over the incredible historical story of how the holiday got it's start and laughed as we tried to pronounce long and unfamiliar Hebrew words.  I emailed my friend and former colleague who is Jewish and she gave us a wealth of information about Hanukkah, including adorable pictures of her children and family members lighting the Hannukiah and playing dreidel.  If only she lived closer I'd bribe her to make me some latkes and sufganiyots.

After Alli gathered her research, she wrote her report then dictated it to me for typing.  She also created a poster to use a visual aid when she gives her presentation to her class.  I hope you enjoying learning about Hanukkah (did you know there are three different, correct ways to spell it?) as much as we did.

Without further ado, here's Alli's report.

"History of Hanukkah

There once was a person named Antiochus the Fourth who ruled over Israel.  He made it a crime to practice Judaism.  Antiochus the Fourth grew angry because the Jews kept worshipping their god instead of Antiochus’s god. Antiochus sent out his army to destroy the Jewish temple. The Syrian Greek soldiers took over the Jewish temple. The soldiers knocked over the menorah and the temple light went out.

The Maccabees which were Mattathias and his son Judah and the little army that Judah owned fought back.  After seven long years of fighting, the Maccabees won.  But the point of why the Maccabees won was because the real God was on their side. 

When the Jewish people got their temple back, they cleaned it up.  Judah got some olive oil to light the menorah.  They thought it was going to light for only one night, but God provided it to burn for eight nights.  It was a miracle that God provided the extra olive oil.

Celebrating Hanukkah

Hanukkah is a time when Jewish families get together and remember their past.  They also exchange gifts and eat food, like potato pancakes (latkes) and jelly-filled doughnuts (sufganiyots).  They eat this food because jelly-filled doughnuts and potato pancakes are fried in olive oil, just like Judah used olive oil to light the menorah.

Some of the gifts the children receive are pieces of chocolate wrapped in gold foil and other toys.  Families get together and play a game with a dreidel.  A dreidel has four Hebrew symbols on it.  It is a wooden top.  The symbols make a sentence that says, “A great miracle happened there.”

Hanukkah means “dedication” in Hebrew.  It is a once a year holiday.  It is also called the Festival of Lights.

The reason Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah is to remember the miracle which was the olive oil burned for eight nights instead of one.  The lights burn on a Menorah, which is a candle holder that has eight candle spots with an extra helper spot.  As they light the candles, they pray.


Families tell a story from long, long ago like about one thousand years ago.  All Jewish people have a hanukkiah that they light for eight days.  They light one candle for each night.  By the eighth night, all nine candles are lit.  They put the hanukkiah in the window sill so people can see and remember the miracle of the light."

1 comment:

  1. Love this post, Alli! I grew up with a lot of Jewish classmates, and we always had Jewish holidays off from school. In music class, too, we sang songs like, "Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay, and when it's dry and ready, oh dreidel I will play" all the time around Hanukkah and Christmas. I learned new things from your report, though, and it looks like you had fun putting it all together. Good job! - Faith