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As we each shared some favorite holiday memories, my partner asked, “So what does each candle of Hanukkah symbolize?” Puzzled, I asked him to explain what he meant. “You know, like for Kwanzaa.”
Dina and her family move to a new city right before Rosh HaShanah. The move brings about a set of problems — the family car breaks down, the new house is a mess and filled with unpacked boxes, and Dina’s parents aren’t able to prepare a festive holiday dinner. When the family goes to the local synagogue to celebrate Rosh HaShanah, Dina doesn’t recognize anyone and feels left out. However, the family then receives help from an unexpected source!
In Pirkei Avot, Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah taught, “If there is no bread, there is no Torah; and if there is no Torah, there is no bread.” I love these words. They echo in my mind when I partake in two of my favorite almost daily activities, the study of Torah and the baking bread. On the holidays, these two passions intersect, as they have for generations of Jews, when I shape challah. The traditional shapes for challot (plural) can be Torah study on our very festival tables.
This Rosh HaShanah, we all need to find new and different ways to connect with the High Holidays and a playdough date might be just right for you and your family.
Assign a different Jewish value each one day of Hanukkah and plan appropriate activities for your family. The idea of activities is not simply doing for doing’s sake, but doing for the sake of learning. Be sure to reflect and talk afterward!
The complex flavor profiles of sumptuous chocolate have finally made it to Hanukkah gelt (traditionally coins given as Hanukkah gifts, but used here to describe foil-wrapped chocolate coins associated with the holiday).
Thumbprint honeybees are easy and giggle-worthy. With minimal mess, this is a great project to do with younger kids