Chanukah aka Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights begins today, at sunset December 20, 2011 and is celebrated through December 28, 2011
On the Jewish calendar, the Hebrew dates for Hanukkah are from sundown on the 25th of Kislev to sundown on the 2nd of Tevet in the year 5772.
"Today, Jews everywhere light menorahs on each night of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah. Traditionally, one candle or flame is lit for each night until the eighth night, when all eight lights shine together. The menorah has a ninth "helper" flame, known as the shamash, used to light the other candles. This is necessary because in Jewish law the Hanukkah lights serve no other purpose than declaring the miracle of the holiday. Jews place the lit menorah in a prominent window in order to fulfill this commandment.
The Festival of Lights, an eight-day celebration, marks the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the second century B.C.E. during the Maccabean revolt against oppressive Greek rulers. It is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays -- perhaps due to its proximity to Christmas on the Gregorian calendar -- and is celebrated by lighting a nine-branch candelabrum commonly called a menorah.
Gift giving is now a common practice on Hanukkah, and it is therefore a beloved time for Jewish children. Fried potato pancakes (latkes) and doughnuts (sufganiyot) are traditional fare, and a spinning top (dreidel) with four Hebrew letters that have become synonymous with the holiday.
Nun - worth nothing
Hei - the player gets half the pot
Gimel - the player wins all of the pot
Shin - the player must add one to the pot
This game is usually played with raisins, nuts or gelt. (foil wrapped chocolate in the shape of coins.
One of the most successful pop singer-songwriters, Neil Diamond, has recreated a favorite pop song for those who celebrate Hanukkah. In this animated version, you’ll see Adam Sandler‘s “Hanukkah Song” literally animated for every lyric. Although it’s a bit weird to hear Diamond take on the comedy-filled song and add a couple of electric guitar solos, it’s still a pretty funny watch.
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