Celebrating Hanukkah at home (shuling)

Last night, I had to exaplain to Zoe that our plans to make jelly dougnuts were put on hold because her sister was running a 101 fever. She was none too thrilled by this information.  “We don’t really do anything Jewish for Hanukkah,” she cried. “All we do is light some stupid candles.” Mind you, this is the same child who sat with her fingers plugging her ears at Bnai Jershurun this past Friday night because she was so mad that I had made her go to shul on our vacation in NYC. Nevertheless, I didn’t want to dismiss her criticism too quickly. Was lighting (stupid) candles in fact the only Jewish thing we did for Hanukkah? Have I been so busy teaching and blogging that I’ve neglected my responsibility as a Jewish parent?


Actually? No.

For you, Zoe, a few highlights of our Jew-y Hanukkah:

We decorated our windows, in order to fulfill the mitzvah of pirumei nissa, aka publicizing the miracle of Hanukkah.

We made latkes, topped with applesauce and sour cream. (Though I didn’t photograph ours, so I borrowed this shot from the public domain.)


We baked Hanukkah shaped sugar cookies. (Yes, these misshapen goodies are ours.)

We read Hanukkah Books, including one of my favorite out-of-print classics, Grandma’s Latkes, by Malka Drucker, and tare currently working our way through the less-engaging but highly-informative Alexandra’s Scroll, by Miriam Chakin.


We took a family trip to NYC, which included the Jewiest of all activities (from a cultural perspective, that is) lunch on Christmas Day in Chinatown. (This was followed by a visit to the to eat pickles from The Pickle Guys on Essex St. on the Lower East Side.)


We also sang Hanukkah songs, attended a community Hanukkah celebration, and made a real, oil burning menorah:

Tonight we are making an edible, but kosher (as in halachic, or legal – at least I think it will be) menorah made out of cupcakes. Here they are pre-frosting and pre-candles. We’re going to cut the top off one cupcake to make the shamash a little lower than the others.


So, yeah, we did watch Miracle on 34th St and went to see the Eloise Tree at the Plaza hotel, and no, we didn’t play dreidl, but I’d still wager that our Hanukkah was Jew-ier than average. We certainly did more than just lighting some stupid candles.

But if it really matters to you, Zoe, next year I’ll really try to make those jelly dougnuts.


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posted December 27, 2011 at 3:08 pm

love the cupcakkiah!

great celebration across the board. zoe is a tough room. :)

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posted December 28, 2011 at 4:01 pm

I also LOVE the cupcake Chanukiah, and I think you get 1 million mom points for that. There is something very Maccabee-like in not competing in the “holiday-palooza” at this time of year. Simplicity and holiness is its own fight against Hellinism. Please tell Zoe I said that, and then let me know when she says “HUH?”. I love the recap, and I hope you can carry the light through the next couple of dark months.

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Bible Belt Balabusta

posted December 30, 2011 at 10:01 am

I love the recap, too. It made me pull out Grandma’s Latkes from the too-crowded shelf of (mostly awful) Hanukkah picture books. I had forgotten the book mentions the whole kill-a-dude-for-eating-pig thing, and when I read it aloud, I hesitated. My son noticed the unintended vocal modulation, but didn’t react to that part of the story. Do you know if it the only picture book that includes this episode? I’m curious.

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posted May 22, 2012 at 9:43 am

Sugar cookies are my most favorite …My mom specially baked it for me…This aritcle is very nice one…

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