Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!

I want to wish a Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish friends and readers! For those who don't know, the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, commemorates the triumph of the Jews over their oppressors in ancient Israel. According to legend, when the Jews reclaimed their temple, they found only enough oil to create light for one day, but the oil lasted for eight days. The lighting of Hanukkah candles symbolizes that miracle.

Sitting down to a Hanukkah meal with family and friends is as significant a part of the celebration as lighting the menorah candles. Like the candles, the oil used to fry potato latkes and cook the traditional jam-filled doughnuts, called sufganiyot, recalls the miracle in the temple. After dinner, the children play dreidel, a game that uses a four-sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side. The letters are the initials of the words that together mean "a great miracle happened there."

The latkes alone make me wish I was Jewish and Martha Stewart has a great recipe. I always think it's a nice and thoughtful gesture to learn about and experience the traditions of another. Enjoy!

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