Hanukkah Lights Up December


Sam Greenwald

A centerpiece of the celebration Hanukkah is the menorah. The ancient lamp holds nine candles. The lighting of eight candles symbolizes the number of days that the Jewish temple blazed, with the ninth used for lighting the others. This is the menorah used in the Greenwald household and apart of their religious traditions.

With holiday cheer in the air, many have something to celebrate in the winter season. Senior Sam Greenwald is no different, as he just spent a memorable week with his family celebrating Hanukkah. The Jewish festival is one of the major holidays that took place this month, lasting from Dec. 2nd to Dec. 10th.

Hanukkah commemorates the re-dedication of the Temple of Jerusalem following defilement by the Syrian Greeks around 2nd century BCE. In remembrance of this event, Jewish households light candles on the Menorah, a 9-branched candelabrum, and pray each night.

“For the first night you just put one candle in, then you say the blessing and light it,” Greenwald said. “My favorite part of celebrating this year is blessing the candles for the very first time.”

In the story of Hanukkah, the oil used to light the candles lasted eight days miraculously when it was expected to last only one. Eating fried foods during Hanukkah alludes to this importance of oil. This includes potato pancakes (latkes) and jam-filled donuts (sufganiyot), and other foods popular in Jewish households.

“We eat oily things, so the two most traditional are latkes and jelly donuts,” Greenwald said. “We buy the donuts, but for latkes you basically shred potatoes and some onions and fry them up.”

Hanukkah is a beloved time of year for many students who celebrate it with family, friends and community coming together during this time.

“It’s a fun time to spend with family and see people you don’t always see.” Greenwald said. “Hanukkah’s story serves as a reminder that God provides.”