Students celebrate Jewish history

It’s the season of giving.

In the pilot it says Thanksgiving Recess, but there’s another holiday that’s about being grateful and that’s Hanukkah.

“Personally, it really makes me appreciate that I am able to share what I have with people around me,” says Semadar Siegel, Hebrew teacher. “It’s a holiday of pride and belonging to a community.”

Hanukkah is more than a celebration, but it is also a history and part of a culture. The holiday is a way of remembering the Maccabean Revolt against the Syrian-Greeks who were suppressing the Jews.

Hanukkah commemorates the story of how the Jewish temple that was degraded by the Greeks had oil that burned for eight days rather than one.

“Our main emphasis is on culture and light because the holiday is about the miracle of light,” says Siegel.

Hanukkah can be in late Nov. and Dec. because the holiday takes place in the third month of the Jewish calendar, Kislev. The calendar is lunar meaning it follows rotations of the moon.

A big custom of Hanukkah is the lighting of a menorah for eight days and nights. Traditions also include dishes such as sufganiyot, which is similar to a jelly donut.

Family traditions also make the holiday. “Everyone has a different way of expressing it,” explains Siegel. “What’s important is that it gets people together. It’s a family orientated holiday.”

“For Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, I will be having dinner with my family,” says junior Lauren Ross who will be celebrating both holidays this week. “We are combining traditional Thanksgiving and Hanukkah favorites such as turkey and stuffing but also latkes and jelly doughnuts.”

The Israeli club will be giving all students a chance to celebrate and learn about Hanukkah with a party on Dec. 4 in N112. There will be stations where students can create decorative menorahs, make candles, play with dreidels, and learn the traditional dances and songs.

“It’s a holiday about giving and others,” says Siegel.