Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Menorah Lighting

We were in a store recently when Jasper told me I had to see some cool wrapping paper.  It was a very nice design in silver and blue with dreidels on it.  I was surprised to realize that not only did he not recognize dreidels, he didn't actually remember anything about Hanukkah.  Definitely time to get busy! First we discovered that the local libraries have tons of books for kids about Hanukkah. Perhaps one reason for this is that our libraries love to feature local authors, and Eric Kimmel is a Portland author who has written many lovely books about Hanukkah. (Our favorite was Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, which was illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, the Best Illustrator Ever!) After learning about the origin of the holiday and its roots in the First and Second Maccabees, we also learned a bit about how the holiday is celebrated today.  Then we went to see the public Menorah Lighting for the first night of Hanukkah which took place this year in Esther Short Park in Vancouver. 

It was fun!  A klezmer band was playing. First they assembled an ice sculpture menorah.  It was really neat to watch them put it together and carve details and decorations into the ice. Next they held a lighting ceremony. Rabbi Greenberg gave a short but moving speech about being a light in the darkness, and not waiting for others to begin before we act to good works to make the world a better place.  A police officer and a group of students from Hebrew School helped in turn to light the candles and sing traditional songs.  Then they had a laser light show with more Hanukkah songs, which was followed by a party with traditional foods including latkes and jelly donuts.  We sampled both, then went home and made a big latke feast!  Latkes are potato pancakes.  We like ours grated, not mashed, fried thin and crisp with no added filler and served with sour cream.  There's just nothing better! 

Happy Hanukkah everyone!

Assembling the menorah.
Carving details.
Lighting the menorah.

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