Kind of as a follow up to my last post, I thought it would be appropriate to give my take on Chanukkah (No one can decide how to spell Chanukah, Chanukah, Chanukka, Chanukah, Hanukah, Hannukah. I’ve given up).
To make things easy and somewhat interesting, I’ve written a “comprehensive guide” to this holiday. Here are some FAQs:
When IS Chanukah?! Its tricky, my friends. Christmas is one day, same day every year: December 25. FYI: Most Jews love December 25th. It’s another paid day off work. We go to movies and out for Chinese food, and Israeli dancing. Chanukah is 8 days. It starts the evening of the 24th of Kislev (on our Jewish calendar which is lunar, like aunt flow), whenever that falls. No one is ever sure. Jews never know until a non-Jewish friend asks when Chanukah starts, forcing us to consult a calendar so we don’t look like idiots. We all have the same calendar, provided free with a donation from either the World Jewish Congress, the kosher butcher, or the local Sinai Memorial Chapel (especially in Florida) or other Jewish funeral home.
Why do Jews celebrate it? The truth: Christmas is a major holiday. Chanukah is actually a minor holiday with the same theme as most Jewish holidays. They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat. And just like Christmas has become more and more commercialized, the same holds true for Chanukah, even though its a minor holiday. It makes sense. How could we market a major holiday such as Yom Kippur? Forget about celebrating. Think observing. Come to synagogue, starve yourself for 27 hours, become one with your dehydrated soul, beat your chest, confess your sins, a guaranteed good time for you and your family. Tickets a mere $200 per person. Better stick with Chanukah! Fried carbs and money giving? I’m not passing that up!
Do you get presents? Traditionally, Jews give “gelt” (yiddish for “money”) but thats basically just chocolate gold coins kids “gamble” with when they play driedel (more on that later). But most often than not, we get “practical” gifts like socks, gloves, underwear, or some book we won’t read but that looks impressive on a book shelf.
What do you eat on Chanukah?
Ah yes….I big part any Jewish holiday is eating. Jews like to have “latkes” which although some people think is a type of potato pancake, its really a kind of oil in which a little potato is thrown in. For the sweet toothed Jews, there are “Soufganyot” aka jelly donuts or really, another type of oil in which a teeny bit of dough is added. All these foods is just to be poilte, otherwise, I think we’d be sippin on oil straight up. Canola shots anyone?
Ok, I’ve bored you enough…. stay tuned for part two tomorrow!
Do YOU have an questions about this holiday for me? Or about anything Jewish? Not that I’m an expert, but I’d like to think I am.
And I decided to just make a bunch of latkes out of what was hanging around my kitchen:
1 med-large onion
big hunk of ginger (the more the better)
1/2 medium butternut squash (peeled)
2 tbs flaxmeal
1/4 cup corn flour (or any flour, matzo meal works well!)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup canned pumpkin
1) Grate yams, butternut squash, ginger, and onions (by hand or in a cuisinart) and add the flaxseed meal, corn flour, pumpkin, baking powder, and cinnamon
2) Mix it all together