• Document: Hanukkah at Home. Happy Hanukkah! A How To Guide by Jewish LearningWorks
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Hanukkah at Home A How To Guide by Jewish LearningWorks Hanukkah at Home is a guide for families, designed to enhance your holiday celebrations at home. In it you’ll find a brief rundown of the story of Hanukkah, a guide to observing the different Hanukkah rituals, suggestions for family friendly activities, recipes, useful resources, and more. We hope this guide will help you bring a bit of the light of Hanukkah into your homes and wish you a holiday of light, sweetness, and lots and lots of fun! Happy Hanukkah! Hanukkah at Home JewishLearningWorks The Hanukkah Story In 168 BCE, the ruler of the Syrian kingdom, Antiochus Epiphanes IV, marched into Jerusalem, vandalized the Temple, erected an idol on the altar, and desecrated its holiness with the blood of swine. Decreeing that studying Torah, observing the Sabbath, and circumcising Jewish boys were punishable by death, he sent Syrian overseers and soldiers to villages throughout Judea to enforce the edicts and force Jews to engage in idol worship. When the Syrian soldiers reached Modi’in (about 12 miles northwest of the capital), they demanded that the local leader, Mattathias the Kohein (a member of the priestly class), be an example to his people by sacrificing a pig on a portable pagan altar. The elder refused and killed not only the Jew who stepped forward to do the Syrian’s bidding, but also the king’s representative. Following that, Mattathias and his five sons fled to the hills and caves of the wooded Judean wilderness. They would become the Macabees and wage a guerilla war against the well-trained, well-equipped, Syrian army. In three years, the Maccabees drove the Greeks out of Israel and reclaimed their land and the temple mount. The Maccabees then held a re-dedication (hanukkah) of the Temple with proper sacrifice, rekindling of the golden Temple candelabrum, the Menorah, and eight days of celebration. According to the Talmud, it was at this time that a single, undefiled flask of olive oil was found for lighting the Menorah. Miraculously, the oil, sufficient for only one day, burned for eight. Hanukkah at Home JewishLearningWorks The Hanukkah Story for kids A long time ago, over 2000 years, people called Jews who were from a country called Judea fought against the people of a country called Syria. The Jews were angry because Antiochus, a Greek who ruled Syria, said that all the Jewish people had to worship Greek gods instead of the one God they worshipped. The Jews refused to this. So, to punish the Jews, Syrian soldiers wrecked the Jews’ Temple, a special place to worship God in Jerusalem. The soldiers also stole the sacred lamp, called the Menorah, and the lamp’s flame went out. This had never happened before. They poured the special oil used to keep the flame alive all over the floor. After three years of fighting, the Jews beat the Syrians. To celebrate their victory, the Jews took back their temple. They lit an oil lamp, but they could only find enough oil to keep it burning for one night. They needed more oil so that the lamp could keep burning. But a miracle happened. The oil lamp stayed lit for eight days, which was the time it took to make new oil for the lamp. This was the Miracle of the Oil. Since then, Jews remember that time with an eight-day celebration called the Festival of Light by placing eight candles in a Menorah (a special candlestick) and lighting one candle for each evening of the celebration. http://twigglemagazine.com/December-activities/Hanukkah-kids-activity.html Hanukkah at Home JewishLearningWorks Hanukkah Rituals & Traditions! LIGHTING A HANUKKAH MENORAH OR HANUKKIAH The primary Jewish ritual observance of Hanukkah is the lighting of the Hanukkah Menorah or the Hanukkiah, an eight armed candlestick which is lit each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. An extra, ninth candle called the Shamash is lit first and used to light the other candles. Each consecutive night a new candle is

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