Spinning and Winning: Why We Play Dreidel

Dec 20, 2016  |  By Sarah Gold

One of Hanukkah’s most curious customs is the spinning top – called a dreidel in Yiddish and sevivon in Hebrew – that is played with throughout Hanukkah. The unusual game has a fascinating history and even more interesting rules: read on to find out more! When the Greeks invaded ancient Israel, they prohibited the practice of Judaism. Shabbat, brit milah (circumcision) and ritual slaughter were all outlawed, and teaching Torah […]

Category  : Judaism   

Crispy Treats and Tasty Sweets

Dec 13, 2016  |  By Sarah Gold

Let’s be honest here: Hanukkah is nearly everyone’s favorite festival. Between the mystical candle lighting ceremony, joyful songs, a heroic story filled with unlikely victors and the much-anticipated exchange of gifts, it’s hard not to love this wonderful eight day holiday. And if that’s not quite enough to sway you, there’s one other enticing reason to love the Festival of Lights: the food! The Hanukkah miracle we celebrate revolves around […]

Category  : Judaism   

To Say and to Pray

Dec 06, 2016  |  By Sarah Gold

Hanukkah is not a biblical festival – we still drive, go to work, and study as usual – but some extra prayers and blessings make an appearance in our normal daily prayers. This is a quick introduction to the extra things we say and pray over Hanukkah. Al hanisim: the al hanisim prayer is added to the amida (central prayer in all three daily prayer services). It starts by acknowledging […]

Category  : Judaism