Chanukah candles

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, which means that we light the first candle on the menorah, and then we light candles every day at sundown for each of the 8 nights of Hanukkah. 

Hanukkah is not a major holiday. But in Israel it’s a lot of fun. It follows the pattern of many Jewish holidays, which is this:

They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat!

For Hanukkah, “they” were the Greeks, the Maccabees defeated them and there was a miracle of the oil in the temple menorah lasting 8 days when there was only enough for 1 day. So the tradition is to eat foods cooked with oil. Like latkes (potato pancakes, delicious with home-made apple sauce), and especially in Israel, sufganiot i.e. doughnuts. The sufganiot are traditionally made with jam but in Israel you can find all sorts of wonderfully fancy ones, like halva and pistachio, white chocolate, milk jam. Bakeries compete with each other to make fancier ones. Some people complain that things aren’t what they used to be and sufganiot should just be plain jam ones.

If I get good ones, I’ll post pictures of our lit menorahs during the week (and maybe my latke and apple sauce recipe…).

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10 comments on “Chanukah candles”

  1. Hey Cat..it’s so nice to see a chanukah image. Tonite we light the first candle..eat yummy latkes…spin the dreidel..and sing victorious chanukah songs. Hope yours is happy and bright! :-)

  2. Marcie, it’s fun isn’t it? :)

    חג חנוכה שמח !!

  3. I grew up with Jewish food – how can you not in NYC? I love latkes or blintzes or… So many crossovers from Russian food also. And in the Brooklyn I grew up in on a Jewish holiday there were maybe 3 or 4 kids in class out of 30. Wish you happy holidays Cat!

  4. i love the art and lettering and colors on these packages. wonderful photo.

  5. daina – thank you :) NYC is amazing, I loved the variety there. A lot of Ashkenazi Jewish cooking is similar to Eastern European cooking – and in Israel we have every cuisine because we have people from every country imaginable.

    grant, thanks – they do have an old fashioned feel to them. The drawing on the boxes is of Jerusalem of course…

  6. Wonderfully informative and it does sound like a very fun holiday. Eat well and be merry! Happy Hanukkah!

  7. happy hanukkah, cat. my theory is that for the other seven days they used wind-power ;-)

  8. Chag Sameach. Fun image and great narration. Enjoy a few sufganiot for me. I love Sephardic food which is not as well known here as the Ashkenaz food. Also love how timeless the graphic design on the candles box is. It seems to never change.

  9. The best part of the Holidays is the eating part and looks like we have that in common. Have lots of fun!

  10. Thanks for your comments :)

    Mindy, חג שמח !! I already sampled the sufganiot at a number of different places – it’s important to do a proper evaluation of each bakery, you see. Winning so far (in case you or anyone is in Tel Aviv over a Hanukah) is Tal Bagels on Dizengoff street.

    Terry – every Jewish holiday is about food in some way :) Hope you’re enjoying your holidays too.


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