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All About Hanukkah

Dec 14, 2016

This year, the Jewish holiday Hanukkah begins at Sunset, December 24th 2016 to nightfall, January 1st 2017. Since Hanukkah is based on the Jewish lunar calendar, it always starts on the 25th day of Kislev. This holiday is also known as the Festival of Lights. It continues for eight days with a candle being lit each night.

The Story

Hanukkah, which is Hebrew for dedication, honors the victory of the Jews over the Greek Syrians in 165 BC. After their victory, the Maccabees, sons of the family that led the revolt, entered the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and dedicated it to the service of God. After the Temple was re-dedicated, the time came to light the N'er Tamid, the Eternal Light of the temple. The Jews could find only one jar of oil, marked with the seal of the High Priest, which was only enough to last one evening. Miraculously, the oil kept the lights burning for the entire eight nights it took to get new oil.

Potato Latkes are a traditional celebration foodPotato Latkes are a traditional celebration foodCourtesy of The Seasonal Gourmet

Light the Menorah

The menorah, or Hanukiyah, holds nine candles. Eight candles represent the eight days of Hanukkah, and the ninth, the Shamash, is used to light the other candles. The candles are lit from left to right, with one candle for each day of the festival, so that as every day passes, the menorah becomes brighter and brighter.

Lighting the MenorahLighting the Menorah

How to Celebrate

  • After lighting the menorah, families gather for dinner. They eat traditional Hanukkah foods, like latkes and applesauce.
  • Children receive a gift for each night of Hanukkah.
  • It's a tradition for children to play the dreidel game during Hanukkah.

DreidelsDreidels
Have Your Say

How do you celebrate? let us know!

 

51 Comments

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What's Your Fave Hanukkah Song?

  • I Have a Little Dreidel.
  • The Hanukkah Song by Adam Sandler.
  • Come Light the Menorah.

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"According to the famous theory in quantum mechanics, 'The universe doesn't exist if we stop looking at it,' which argues that a particle's past behavior changes based on what we see. Last year, scientists performed a new experiment proving this theory to be true on the scale of atoms.   'The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured.'   According to the rules of quantum mechanics, the boundary between the 'world out there' and our own subjective consciousness are blurred. When physicists look at atoms or particles of light, what they see depends on how they have set up their experiment. To test this, physicists at the Australian National University recently conducted what is known as the John Wheeler's delayed-choice thought experiment. The experiment involves a moving object that is given the choice to act like a particle or a wave. Wheeler's experiment then asks - at which point does the object decide? Common sense says the object is either wave-like or particle-like, independent of how we measure it. But quantum physics predicts that whether you observe wave like behavior or particle behavior depends only on how it is actually measured at the end of its journey. 'It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,' said Associate Professor Andrew Truscott. Despite the apparent weirdness, the results confirm the validity of quantum theory. Quantum theory governs the world of the very small, and has enabled the development of many technologies such as LEDs, lasers and computer chips. The ĀNU reversed Wheeler's original concept of light beams being bounced by mirrors, and instead used atoms scattered by laser light."
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