Hanukkah is growing into quite a nice tradition in the Mitchell home. It is a special celebration for us, because Devin and I became engaged on the eight night in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Yemin Moshe five years ago. Now that Aviel is old enough to appreciate Holy Days and Holidays, it is especially fun!
If you are new to Hanukkah, the basic story behind the tradition is that Israel was in a war and only had enough oil to burn in the temple for one day. Miraculously (according to the legend), the oil lasted for eight days. Because of the miracle of the oil, we light candles for eight days and eat foods cooked in oil (this should appeal to all my southern friends). It is the only feast the Jews celebrate that is not listed in Lev 23; however, it *is* mentioned in the Brit Hadasha, or New Testament. In John 10:22, the bible explains that Yeshua was in the portico of Solomon, in the winter, during the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah). It is a festival the Jewish people celebrated during the time Yeshua walked the earth in the flesh, so its something he would have likely participated in every year!
Here's a few photos of our Hanukkah celebration this year!
This is a giant Hanukkia (Hanukkah Menorah) in Zion Square. Every night around 6:30, a Rabbi comes out and lights a new candle. This requires the use of a fire engine with a very long ladder, crane, and bucket. Its a bit of a party, with music, blessings, speeches... Aviel and I attended one evening and greeted Mayor Nir Barkat with "Hanukka Sameach!" (Happy Hanukkah) after he helped light the candles.
We ate sufganiyot, a decadent traditional doughnut, from the English Cake store on Ben Yehuda St. This year, our favorite had cheesecake filling. We also sampled coconut cream, and chocolate! Another traditional food is the Latke, which is a potato pancake. We like to serve ours with turkey sausage gravy, a'la Israel meets North Carolina!
Eight nights equals eight gifts! We tried to keep the gifts small and modest and gave one night to each of the grandparents. This was Aviel's favorite present this year! A Thomas and Friends figure-8 track! It was a gift from Grandsir. His other gifts included some rubber "duck-a-lings" (as he calls them) for the shower, dinosaur action figures, Veggie Tales dvd from Savta and Sabba, two differnent types of blocks, The Lion King dvd from Mema, and a Balance Bike from Ima and Abba!
We are developing a tradition in our home of lighting the Candles before dinner, eating together, then opening presents. This year, Aviel and I made a Salt Dough Hanukkia as a little craft activity. I like making things with him that we can use around the house, especially during the holidays. It helps him get excited about the traditions. Here are some photos of Aviel and Devin lighting the candles on the eighth night.
Isn't it lovely!
Thank you for celebrating Hanukkah with us this year! Hanukkah Sameach!
Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12
Salt Dough Hanukkia
1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
1 tbsp oil
water to moisten
grated washable crayons
(I recommend using washable crayon because it cleans easily, and the moisture content from the dough allows the pigment to spread).
yarn (about 12-16 inches)
1. Mix flour, salt and oil, then slowly add in water and kneed until the dough texture is similar to playdough.
2. Divide into 9 equal size balls
3. Allow your child to roll each ball in the desired grated crayon shavings. Kneed and add more color if desired.
4. Next, have your child use a Hanukkah candle to create a hole in the center. Giggle it around a little because the hole will shrink slightly while baking.
5. Use a bamboo skewer or stick of similar size to make a hole through the base of each ball. This will be where you string the yarn to connect them after they have baked.
6. Place on a cookie sheet cover in parchment paper and bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes.
7. After cooled, string the yarn through the holes in the base of the balls and tie in knots on both ends.