How are Chanukah lights different from other ritual lights? On Friday evenings, we light candles to sanctify the beginning of Shabbat, and when Shabbat ends, we conclude the day by lighting a Havdalah candle. Before electricity, Shabbat candles would be lit in many rooms to ensure that people could see during the course of Friday night when no flame could be struck. Chanukah lights differ from the Shabbat candles. They are not to be used for any practical benefit. In fact, one is not supposed use the menorah's light to read or to do any work, nor can its flames be used for warmth. Rather, the rabbis teach that the menorah is lit solely for its intrinsic value. If we can imagine how expensive oil was thousands of years ago, setting aside the Chanukah lights and prohibiting their use during the dark nights was indeed a sacrifice.
Today we have an abundance of light. What's so special about lighting these candles when our homes are lit, our computers and phones emit light, and the street is aglow all night? The power of these Chanukah lights can be too easily diminished. I like to turn off all the lights when we light the Chanukah candles in my home. We place them in our window to radiate the light outward and to fulfill the mitzvah of pirsum hanes - publicizing the miracle. With the lights off, we can see and feel the building of the light, one night after another. It gives us a chance to experience to a small degree what these lights felt like before electricity became commonplace.
Moreover, because the Chanukah candles are lit for their intrinsic value, we can take a step away from a utilitarian mindset that, in our fast-paced world, can easily become all too dominant in how we interact with others in our lives.
As you light the candles this year, dedicate each night to another value:
First Candle - The Light of Courage... In what ways have you been courageous in your life recently?
Second Candle - The Light of Gratitude.... What are you most grateful for this night?
Third Candle - The Light of Sharing... We not only share the menorah's light with others; we also open up to sharing more and more of who we truly are. What is one thing you'd like to share this night?
Fourth Night - The Light of Knowledge...We are a people who have always pursued knowledge and education.... What is one new area you'd like to learn about this Chanukah?
Fifth Night - The Light of Service...Often we wait for the perfect moment to be of service. There is no perfect moment—all moments are perfect. What kind of service are you drawn to offer?
Sixth Night - The Light of Wisdom...Wisdom is not attained quickly. Share one piece of wisdom that you've learned over the years.
Seventh Night - The Light of Love....Name 10 people whom you love, whether they are in the room with you or not.
Eighth Night - The Light of Hope...We are an eternally hopeful people. Without hope we could have easily perished. But we didn't! Share one hopeful thought you have with others tonight.
The Meaning of the Chanukah Lights
Rabbi Lori Forman-Jacobi,
Director, Jewish Journeys
CELEBRATE CHANUKAH AT THE JCC WITH 8 NIGHTS OF LIGHT
It's our gift to you. Join us every night of Chanukah for candle-lighting and light refreshments, hosted by different members of our community!
TUE, DEC 12
Enjoy a camp-style song session with Eliana Light and Camp Settoga.
WED, DEC 13
Decorate festive cookies with Chef Jen Cinclair.
THU, DEC 14
Make a big sound in the round with JCC Drum Circle leader Shoshana Jedwab.
FRI, DEC 15
Join us for an early, pre-Shabbat candle- lighting at 4 pm.
SAT, DEC 16
Gather with friends and family for an R&R interactive celebration of Havdalah, Chanukah, and togetherness with Carla Friend.
SUN, DEC 17
Join our Makom meditation havurah and members as they lead us in lighting the candles and a brief meditation on the lights.
MON, DEC 18
Join Hai, Itamar, and Mai for a Chanukah celebration with Israeli songs.
TUE, DEC 19
The Joseph H. Stern Center for Social Responsibility leads a candle-lighting and celebration focused on “doing good.”
Eight Treats for Eight Nights:
Around the World for Hanukkah - 20s + 30s
Wed, Dec 6, 7-9:30 pm
Menu may include Russian apple latkes; palacinka (Hungarian crêpes); Indian sweet potato curry-cumin pancakes with mango; Israeli sufganiyot; Syrian Ijeh b'samak; Mexican "melted" hot chocolate; and more.
Vegetarian Chanukah Dinner: Pancakes, Latkes + Risotto
Wed, Dec 6, 7-9:30 pm
Menu may include lentil-scallion pancakes with cumin cream; root vegetable latkes; wild mushroom risotto cakes; and spinach pancakes with cardamom.
20s + 30s Annual Chanukah Party
Tue, Dec 12, 7-10 pm
Light up the night with other young professionals at our annual party!
Chanukah Celebration (Ages 4 and under)
Tue, Dec 12, 10:30-11:30 am
As a community, explore the festival of lights through songs, art, and open play.
Nice Jewish Girls Chanukah Game Night
Wed, Dec 13, 7-10 pm
We'll play dreidel, Cards Against Humanity, The L Word trivia (just kidding), and more.
Chanukah with Moshav
Thu, Dec 14, 7:30-9:30 pm
The internationally acclaimed band fronted by Yehuda Solomon and Duvid Swirsky bring their high-energy mix of rock, reggae and Israeli music to celebrate Chanukah on our stage!
Engage Chanukah Party
Thu, Dec 14, 6-8 pm
Celebrate Chanukah with your fellow Engage volunteers
Seniors Chanukah Candle Lighting Party
Thu, Dec 14, 3:30-5 pm
Help us light the JCC menorah, listen to holiday music, and enjoy some refreshments in the company of friends.
Festival of Oil - Celebratory Sweets
Sun, Dec 17, noon-2:30 pm
Create salted caramel-apple latkes; lemon-thyme olive oil ice cream; chocolate pistachio mandelbrot; and sufganiyot filled with chocolate ganache dulce de leche and jelly.
Click the candle flame to reveal the treat beneath!
Chanukah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees, a small band of Jewish fighters, against the Syrian Greeks, who in the 2nd century BCE sought to force the Jews to adopt Hellenistic culture and desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem.
As they prepared to rededicate the Temple (Chanukah means "dedication"), and relight its menorah, the Maccabees found only one small jug of oil, enough to last one day but not the eight days it would take to press new olive oil. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight nights. Check back every day of Chanukah for a new Chanukah treat!
8 Chanukah-Inspired Activities:
Compiled by Sara Shelton, 2s Together Teacher
Ideal for ages: 6 months - 6 years
DIY Light Table
Materials: Large shallow storage container with lid, string lights (white wire, white or multicolored lights, 100-300 count), electrical tape (white)
- Tape string lights inside the container (in a zigzag pattern) hanging from the top as best as possible (leave a bit of the string out so it can be plugged in)
- Tape tissue paper to inside of cover (optional)
- Close container and plug in the lights
Explore further by using washable finger paint on the light table, building with Magna-Tiles or other transparent blocks, or cutting shapes out of transparent folders!
Sparkle Sensory Bag
Materials: gallon-size resealable plastic bag, clear glue, iridescent confetti, clear packing tape
- Pour 1 cup (about) clear glue into bag
- Add 1 Tbsp confetti (or more)
- Tape the bag closed (for added reinforcement, put a layer of tape around the entire bag.)
- Tape the bag to the light table.
Explore further by laminating stickers or pictures of dreidels, chanukiyot/menorahs, candles, gelt, or other Chanukah symbols and placing them in the bag before sealing. You could even add real candles to the bag!
Chanukah Sensory Find-It Bottles:
Materials: Voss water bottles (or any other plastic or glass bottle), candles, dreidels, mini presents (square block with bow attached), sparkles, water or dry rice
DIY Cardboard Light Box:
Materials: Large shallow cardboard box (top cut off), holiday lights, scissor, electrical tape
- With scissor, poke holes in the bottom of the box (space the holes a bit closerthan the distance between each light)
- Stick the lights in the holes
- Secure with electrical tape (under the box so you don't see the wire or tape)
Explore further by driving transparent cars through the light roads, adding creatures or figures, or stacking transparent cups.
Make your own Menorah
Materials: 5 empty paper towel rolls (4 cut in half), hot glue gun and glue, paint
- Glue 8 half rolls side by side, with the large roll in the middle or at either end (this is a job for an adult)
- Paint the assembled menorah
Gelt in a box
Materials: large caps, box with a flap that can open and close, box cutter, alumnimum foil, duct tape (optional)
- Wrap caps in foil
- Cut a slot in the box, large enough for the caps to fit through
- Cover box in tape (or decorate the box with crayons, markers, or paint)
- Kiddos can put the "gelt" in the box through the slot
Thanks, don't show me this again.