Recite this blessing the first time you do something each Jewish calendar year (e.g., the first night of Hanukkah when you light the menorah), and to mark joyous occasions.
The Hebrew word Hanukkah means “dedication” and refers to the joyous eight-day celebration through which Jews commemorate the victory of the Maccabees over the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. and the subsequent liberation and “rededication” of the Temple in Jerusalem.
“We kindle these lights to commemorate the miracles and the wonders”
הנרות הללו אנו מדליקין על הניסים והנפלאות
I am, and have always been, Jewish, but I was raised in a household with a father who was secularly Christian. We “celebrated” Christmas and Easter, but never went to church. We put up a tree but did not speak of Jesus. We colored eggs but did not discuss resurrections.
This is not your traditional applesauce. For one, it calls for pears. And second, this fruit concoction is cooked in a good amount of honey. It takes just a few minutes to prepare. Serve it warm or cold, latkes or as a stand-alone side dish.