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The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


How Do You Celebrate Hanukkah?


Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the next holiday on the calendar is Hanukkah! Every family does something different on Hanukkah. Whether they attend synagogue or take an exotic trip, everyone has a way of making the holiday there own

“It (Hanukkah) is my favorite holiday!” says third grade student Sofia Levine. Hanukkah is the special time of year for reflection and expressing gratitude. With many themes and views of the holiday, there are several ways to reinterpret things and develop unique traditions in all kinds of families through all sects of Judaism. At Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy (HBHA), every student has their own unique way of celebrating Hanukkah.

“Hanukkah is my favorite holiday because I get to spend time with my family,” says third grade student Hannah Gold while flashing a huge grin. During Hanukkah, Hannah and her family light the menorah every night and eat her Mom’s homemade latkes, which “Hannah Absolutely loves.” The Gold family also attends Hanukkah services at Congregation Beth Shalom at least on one night of Hanukkah. What Hannah loves the most about this holiday, though, is that she gets to spend it with her Bubbie and play their favorite game: dreidel.

Sarah and Hannah Gold love celebrating Hanukkah with their family! Photo by Kayla Goldenberg.

Sophomore Gabrielle Abrams describes the dynamic of her house on Hanukkah as being “pretty chill.” The only exception to this is when her dad makes latkes: “Making latkes is my Dad’s passion. He worries that one of us will mess up his process so we don’t get to help him. But, they always turn out delicious.” This year, two members of the Abrams’ family missed Hanukkah, so Gabrielle’s dad made his latkes a couple weeks early so the family could maintain their tradition. Abrams’ favorite memory from Hanukkah is from the olden days of fifth grade. “Our Jewish studies and Hebrew teacher was Mrs. [Chanie] Sosover and she invited the whole class over for a Hanukkah party. We all sat around a huge table and ate [the] Sosover’s homemade latkes and jelly doughnuts. After that we played a game of white elephant and I walked away from the party with an American Idol lollipop that [lit] up and works as a microphone.” The class also learned how to make candles from scratch for their menorahs at home, Abrams shares. “Hanukkah holds so many of my childhood memories, and that is why it is so special.”

Many students go on trips to visit new places or family during this holiday. Third grade students Noa and Sofia Levine recently returned from their pre Hanukkah trip to the Dominican Republic. “While we were down there,” says Sofia, “we got our whole heads braided! We also went to the beach and ate a lot of really yummy food.” The Levines’ next stop is Chicago, where they will visit their grandparents and tour the Windy City.

Like the the Levines, The Clauer family traveled in celebration of Hanukkah. “A few years ago we went to San Diego and visited my cousins,” said fifth grader Aviva Clauer. Aviva loves going to visit her cousins for the holiday because it she does not get to see them all the time and makes the holiday special. “When we were there, I got to take a day trip to Orange County to visit my old classmate Rachel Youngblade,” says Aviva’s sister, tenth grade student Haidee Clauer.

“My family does a lot for Hanukkah,” says fifth grader Annie Fingerish. Annie’s family lights the candles like most families, but they do most of the celebrating in the kitchen. “We always decorate cookies. We use these little cookie cutters shaped like stars and dreidels, then we decorate them with blue frosting and sprinkles.” Last year, the Fingershs tried to make their grandmother’s “famous” jelly doughnuts. Sadly, they were not quite as delicious as when their grandmother makes them. The Fingersh family ended up making a trip to the supermarket for their sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts).

No matter which tradition each family chooses to make their Hanukkah special, the message is the same for everyone; family. The message that Hanukkah sends to us, is that the holiday is about spending time with your family. And with family, long lasting memories are made that give feelings of joy whenever the holiday is thought about.

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