The month of December is always a fun one, full of Christmas carols, dazzling lights, and beautiful Christmas trees. I love the Christmas spirit, but I always feel like something is lacking during this season, and it is the spirit of Chanukah

If you look at the houses of many Jewish families, you will definitely see some light, not the sparkly lights that many are used to, but the light of the Menorah. Chanukah is known as the festival of lights. The menorah is placed in the window of a house so that everyone can see it. Chanukah is a holiday that commemorates the Second Temple after it was overtaken by the Romans. There was only enough oil to light the menorah for one night, but miraculously, the menorah lit for eight whole days and nights. That is why the holiday is celebrated for eight days and why the menorah is a prime symbol of the holiday.

In addition, there is a toy called a dreidel which has the four Hebrew letters, "nun", "gimel", "hey", and "sham" on it. Those letters represent the first letters of the translated Hebrew phrase, "There was a great miracle there," since the great miracle of the Maccabees beating the mighty Greeks and the oil lasting for eight days took place there in Jerusalem. Someone's "Santa Baby" is my "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel."

tea, beer, coffee
Maddie Kapelus

Now that we know what the holiday encompasses, let's get into the fun part. I mean, is there a ever a Jewish holiday without yummy, trademark food?

Oh, I left something out. Since the oil in the Temple was only supposed to last for one night, us Jews like to celebrate that by making sure that the foods we eat are filled with grease. No, I do not mean " Grease Lightning" because after a successful Chanukah meal, no one should have the ability to sing or dance to that song.


sauce, chicken
Anna Ben-Levy

All this talk of grease is making me hungry. So, have a latke. A latke is a fried potato patty which is definitely a holiday favorite. It is essentially a french fry, but in a patty form. It is served with applesauce or sour cream, because why not add more oil to the holiday?

All of this talk of oil is making me feel like I gained a few pounds, so why not substitute white potatoes for sweet potatoes. Or, to be even healthier, even substitute spaghetti squash for any semblances of potato.   

Jelly Doughnuts

cake, apple, jam, pastry, doughnut, bread, sweet
Anna Ben-Levy

To stay on the oil grind, we also eat jelly doughnuts, which are known in hebrew as sufganiyot. There are many reasons why they are jelly-filled, but the main reasonings do not matter since the doughnuts are so good and are always refreshing after a warm, crunchy latke. I'm not a jelly person, but any excuse to have doughnuts works for me. 


Anna Ben-Levy

Everyone loves chocolate and money. So why not combine them? On Chanukah, it is customary to eat gelt, which is a coin shaped piece of chocolate. It always makes for a great addition to any Chanukah present. 


salmon, fish, tuna, rice, sushi
Maddie Kapelus

We all know there probably wasn't sushi in Jerusalem hundreds of years ago, but many people have revolutionized the Chanukah food game. My friend's mom made the most delicious menorah out of sushi which enabled us to fulfill two traditions in one: the tradition of the Menorah and eating Asian cuisine of Christmas!

Happy holidays and may they be filled with presents, lights, and lots of food!