Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights

Kim Schweitzer

Hanukkah, Hanuka, Chanukah, or Chanukkah—no matter how you spell it, it is a Festival of Lights. The holiday that Adam Sandler wrote a song about!

This might surprise some people, but Hanukkah isn’t all that religious of a holiday, nor a gift-giving one. However, it holds important cultural significance for the Jewish people. Because of its convenient timing and proximity to Christmas, parents couldn’t deprive their children of gifts of seasonal merriment. Instead of giving children the traditional “gelt,” or money, Jews began to exchange presents.

At what is the coldest, darkest time of the year for many people, we celebrate by bringing light and warmth into our homes, into our communities and into the world around us. Hanukkah commemorates a military victory in 165 B.C. of the Jewish Maccabees over the Syrian army, as well as their victory over King Antiochus, who forbade Jews to practice their religion. After the victory, the Maccabees rededicated their temple by lighting an “eternal flame.” There was just enough oil to burn for one day, but miraculously the oil lasted for eight days. That is why this celebration of family and freedom lasts for eight days and why, on each of the eight nights, candles are lit on the menorah.

Latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts)—foods cooked in oil—are customarily eaten during Hanukkah to commemorate the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days.

The SaddleBrooke Ranch Shalom Club invites you to celebrate Hanukkah with friends, food, and more!

On Dec. 19, there will be a Menorah lighting at 5:21 p.m. at the Bistro, followed by latkes and other treats at 6 p.m. at 61162 E. Arbor Basin Rd., the home of Kim and Larry Schweitzer.

We are requesting:

* If your last name begins with A-L, bring an appetizer (ready to be served).

* If your last name begins with M-Z, bring a dessert.

We will have latkes, applesauce, sour cream, soft drinks, and other traditional treats. Please don’t forget to wear your name tag. RSVP by Dec. 10 to Kim Schweitzer at [email protected] or 516-428-8927.

Our local Chabad will host a family friendly Chanukah celebration on Sunday, Dec. 18, in Oro Valley. Many Ranchers have attended over the years, have enjoyed it, and will attend this year. For information, check out their website: www.jewishorovalley.com.

The Shalom Club is dedicated to the enrichment of Jewish life for SaddleBrooke Ranch residents.

Our goal is to create a warm and welcoming environment in our community that builds strong lifelong relationships, celebrates together, and supports each other in times of need.

All are welcome. For more information, contact Sherry Weiss at [email protected].