Kosher gift baskets make an excellent Hanukkah gift
In contemporary Israel, Hanukkah is a national holiday, and students present plays, sing holiday songs, and have parties. Schools are closed, and menorahs are displayed atop such prominent buildings as the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. A highlight of the eight-day festival is an annual relay from Modi'in to Jerusalem. Runners carry burning torches through the streets beginning in Modi'in. The runners continue until the final torchbearer arrives at the Western Wall, which is the last remnant of the Temple. The torchbearer hands the torch to the chief rabbi, who uses it to light the first candle of a giant menorah. The Hanukkah observance is also characterized by the daily reading of Scripture, recitation of some of the Psalms, almsgiving, and singing of a special hymn. Along with the daily prayers, thanks are offered to God for delivering the strong into the hands of the weak and the evil into the hands of the good.
There are also a number of nonreligious customs associated with Hanukkah. Potato pancakes (latkes), doughnuts (sufganiyot), and other treats fried in oil, which recall the miracle of the oil, are popular. Children receive presents and gifts of money (Hanukkah gelt), which is sometimes distributed in the form of chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil. Card playing is common, and children play a game with a four-sided top called a dreidel (Hebrew sevivon). On each side of the top is a Hebrew letter, which forms the initials of the words in the phrase nes gadol haya sham, meaning “a great miracle happened there.” In modern Israel the letters of the dreidel were changed to reflect the translation “a great miracle happened here.”
In countries where Christmas rituals are widespread, some echoes of those rituals appear in Hanukkah celebrations. Some families, for example, exchange gifts or decorate their homes. The word Hanukkah in Hebrew also means “education,” and rabbis and Jewish educators try to instill in their congregants and students the notion that the holiday celebrates Jewish strengths, perseverance, and continuity.ukah
Hanukkah Gift Baskets are a great gift to send your family and friends as kosher gifts for Hanukkah this year.
Hanukkah (also spelt Chanukah) is an annual religious event that celebrates the reclamation and rededication of the Holy Temple after it was forcefully taken back from the Greco-Syrian monarch Antiochus by a small group of Jewish freedom fighters called the Maccabees, and the miracle of the oil. The freedom fighters arose because Antiochus had forced them to practice Greek culture and forbade them from reading the Torah. The insurrection was first led by Mattathias the Hasmonean, and later by his son Judah the Maccabee. This is why they came to be known as the Maccabees. Even though the Maccabees were outnumbered, after three years of fighting they were able to recapture the temple mount and begin to repair the damage that had been done to it. However, when they went to rededicate the Temple and light the menorah they found only enough oil to burn for one day when they knew that it would take eight days to make and consecrate more oil. In faith they lit the menorah with the remaining oil and a miracle happened as the oil continued to burn for eight days. For this reason, Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days each year, beginning with the 25th day of Kislev, and is also often known as the Festival of Lights. Hanukkah, the celebration that commemorates this significant victory, literally means “dedication.”
Each evening the Hanukkah menorah is lit, with one more candle being lit every day until all the candles are alight. The 9th branch carries the shammash candle which is used to light the others.