Celebrating Chanikkeh by sending an old-fashioned ‘snail-mail’ letter to

your friends and relatives have become a new tradition.

American Chanukah stamps on envelop 2011.

A Sderot Menorah.

Made entirely from kassam rockets that landed in Israel, its intricate detail and beauty are powerful symbols of the endurance of the Jewish People. The Sderot Menorah demonstrates the triumph of good over evil and the light of Israel over the darkness of terror.

Each menorah is hand made by Israeli artist Yaron Bob. His metal art sculptures and menorahs create beauty from ashes and transform objects of war into expressions of peace and hope.

In addition, a portion of every purchase will be donated to build bomb shelters and protect the lives the nearly one million residents of Israel living under daily threat of rocket attacks from Gaza.


מיר ווינטשן יר אַלע אַ גליקלעך כאַנוקאַה

KOPJIK ønsker alle en god chanukah – We wish you all a happy Khanukah –   Wij wensen u allen een gelukkig Khanukah – Nous vous souhaitons à tous un joyeux Khanukah – Auguriamo a tutti voi un felice Khanukah – Życzymy wszystkim szczęśliwego Khanukah – Deseamos a todos un feliz Khanukah – přejeme vám všem šťastný Khanukah – Ми бажаємо всім вам щасливого Khanukah – Vi önskar er alla en glad Khanukah – Desejamos um Chanuká Sameach !!!

Click on the family.


Why do we celebrate chanukah (Jánuka)?

In 171 BC, Antiochus IV lead an army through Palestine to attack the Seleucids in Egypt. With Antiochus so preoccupied, Jason recruited allies among the anti-Hellenistic Hasidim and led them into Jerusalem, where they threw the High Priest Menelaus into prison, expelled the Seleucid garrison. Antiochus and his army returned from Egypt, threw down the walls of Jerusalem, restored Menelaus, and placed a new garrison in the city, erected a statute of Zeus in the temple in Jerusalem and desecrated the altar by building a Greek altar on top and sacrificing a sow.

Mattityahu, who have initiated a jewish uprising against Antiochus, thereafter fell ill and died, and his son Jehuda Hamacbi (meaning Juda with the hammer) emerged as the head of the resistance in 167 BC, along with his brothers Eleazor, John, Jonathan and Simon. Under Jehuda, the “Maccabeans” fought a running series of battles with the Seleucids. After three years of fighting, the Maccabees were finally successful in driving the enemy out of Israel and reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem. The Maccabees wanted to clean the building and to remove the hated Greek symbols and statues. On the 25th day of the month of Kislev, the job was done and the temple was rededicated.

When Jehuda victoriously entered the temple the eternal lamp – ner tamid – was not burning.

To re-lit was needed some purified oil which wasn’t available,

but luckily enough the Maccabeans found a jug

with a little bit of the holy oil.

It was expected to burn only for a day,

but miraculously it lasted for eigth days

enabling the Maccabeans to procure a new and

bigger portion of the purified oil.

To commemorate this miraculous event we do celebrate Chanikeh during eight days every year

as a festival of joy and lights.

Listen to the blessings at




Read the blessings and transcription here:


How to celebrate “a jiddishe Chanikkeh”?

Khaneke iz a yontev, a yontev fun a nes

Kum-zhe esn latkes, zing un nit farges.

Latkes est mit fargenign

frish fun bulbes ersht gemakht

Bazingt dem yontev fun likt un frayhayt

Say batog un say banakht.

Shpiln dreydl iz a minheg

Shpiln kinder, ale nekht,

Gut is giml, hey iz helft nor

Nun iz nisht, shin iz take shlekht.

‘Spieln mit a dreydl”

is a traditional yiddish game on chanikkeh.

Click on the picture above to wath the love-sick dreydles.

Do you know how to play ‘a dreydl’ ???

(N) or nun stands for ‘nicht’ (nothing). If the dreidel lands on nun, you do nothing.

(G) or gimmel stands for ‘ganz’ (all). If the dreidel lands on gimmel,

you take everything in the middle.

(H) or hey stands for ‘halb’ (half). If the dreidel lands on hey,

take half of what’s in the middle plus one if there’s an odd number of objects.

(SCH or SH) or shin stands for schlecht (bad) or ‘shtel’ ( put in).

If the ‘dreidl’ lands on ‘shin’, put two objects (hazelnutz etc.) into the middle.

Try playing drejdl on the internet:


The dreydl song in Yiddish

Ikh bin a kleyner dreydl.

Gemakht bin ikh fun blay.

To lomir ale shpiln

in dreydl eyns tsvey dray.

Oy, dreydl, dreydl, dreydl.

Oy, drey zikh, dreydl, drey.

To lomir ale shpiln

in dreydl eyns un tsvey.

Un ikh hob lib tsu tantsn.

Zikh dreyen in a rod.

To lomir ale tantsn

a dreydl-karahod.

Oy, dreydl, dreydl, dreydl.

Oy, drey zikh, dreydl, drey.

To lomir ale shpiln

in dreydl eyns un tsvey.

Listen to the dreydl-song –

in an instrumental version:



a transcribed English version:


or here:


Learn the English text here.


Chanu-Cat’s Dreidel

You have a little dreidle with which I’d like to play

The minute you’re not looking,

I’ll spirit it away

Oh dreidle, dreidle, dreidle, with which I’d like to play

Oh dreidle, dreidle, dreidle, I’ll spirit it away

I have a lovely body, with legs so long and thin

My paw can fling that dreidle, and hit you in the shin

Oh dreidle, dreidle, dreidle, my legs so long and thin

Oh dreidle, dreidle, dreidle, I’ll scratch you on the chin

I don’t care what it stops on, nun gimel hey or shin

I make up my own rules, so whichever one, I win

Oh dreidle, dreidle, dreidle, nun gimel hey or shin

Oh dreidle, dreidle, dreidle, whichever one, I win!

“Chanikkeh gelt”

Hanukkah Song – Chanukeh Gelt

(Samson Kemelmakhe, My Zeidi)

Copenhagen, Town Hall Square, 2011.



want to wish all our friends

around the entire world

a happy and joyfull

There are many ways to spell Chanukah.

The most popular of all the old Yiddish chanikkeh songs is –

Oy chanikkeh oy chanikkeh:

This song do have a second - not widely known - verse that goes like this:

Jehuda hot fartribn

der soine dem rotzeakh.

Un hot in beis hamigdas

gesungen lamna-tzeach.

Di stot Jerusalajim

hot vieder oifgelebt.

Un zu a najem lebn

hot jederer gestrebt.

Dariber dem gibor

Jehuda Ha’machbi loybt hoykh.

Zol jederer bezunder

bazingen dem wunder.

Un liben dos folk zolt ihr oykh.

This song “Oj chanikkeh oy chanikkeh”

exist in several versions.

Listen to one of the versions:


or listen to Theodore Bikel

in one of the many Yiddish versions


A modern chanikkeh song in English:

A chanuka-song (by Adam Sandler, USA)


Chanuka and latkes in Shetland

(Her family was the only Jewish family among 18,000 staunch Presbyterians.)

Chanikkeh in Shetland: Mom’s Home Cooking

Keepin’ Cakes for Chanukah By Ethel G. Hofman Chanukah at our house was always bright and cheerful. In Shetland at that time of year, darkness falls early, about 2pm. Outside, street lamps illuminated frost-rimmed shop windows casting an eerie glow on half a dozen deserted fishing boats bobbing on the murky waters of Lerwick harbour. But indoors, our cozy kitchen was filled with wonderful mouth-watering aromas. I rushed home from school, eager to get into the warm house, where those spicy, sweet, and savoury smells wafted towards the front door.

There were latkes, frying in olive oil spluttering at the sides of the big cast-iron frying pan; cinnamon sugar in a silver siever; and, warm from the oven, cakes studded with cherries, some with a marzipan topping, coconut pyramids and cinnamon balls—all set out on wire trays to cool. Ma, her face flushed and a blue butcher’s apron tied around her ample waist, stood at the stove, spatula in hand, ready to turn those latkesat the precise moment when each was crisp and golden. Coloured candles had been inserted in my grandmother’s brass menorah, which was prominently displayed year-round in the china cabinet. A box of Swan Vestas matches was nearby to light the candles at dusk. On Chanukah, the menorah got an extra shine with a soft chamois cloth, although it was polished each Friday morning along with the tall, rope-design Sabbath candlesticks.

Ma’s one and only reference cookbook was Cooking the Jewish Way, by Ann Wald, published in 1961. Half a century later, Ma’s presence comes alive within the book’s faded purple covers. Stained with splotches of forgotten cake batter, the white pages have faded to golden brown around the edges, like crisp toast. Some are splattered with decayed traces of often-prepared puddings and pies, other pages have notes penciled in Ma’s distinctive, upright handwriting. Inside I catch a glimpse of the eager enthusiasm and care with which she prepared meals for our family. As I slowly leaf through the pages, as she had done countless times, I find cuttings from magazines: pineapple sponge custard, from the Jewish Echo; fruit tea loaf from the back of a package of Great Scot self-raising flour; and snowy apple pudding from the Woman’s Own — recipes she never got around to making, or made once and felt they were not worth the trouble. Dad especially was not very accepting of fancy food.

But at Chanukah, when Ma cooked up piles of latkes, generously sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and all the traditional Ashkenazi fried and dairy dishes he adored, he became increasingly mellow. ‘Maybe the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,’ Ma sighed. ‘At least that’s how it is at Chanukah. Ma was never too busy to answer my questions as I leaned, elbows on the table, watching the shreds of potatoes come flying from the hand grater. ‘Why do we have latkes at Chanukah


I never tired of hearing the Chanukah story. I was completely captivated by the brave Maccabees and the miracle of the one-day supply of oil which lasted for eight days. ‘And that’s why we eat foods fried in oil,’ Ma said, as she lifted dripping latkes from the frying pan and transferred them to sheets of clean brown paper to drain. We didn’t have sour cream or apple sauce. ‘That’s all very well for those folks with a delicatessen on their doorstep,’ she grumbled, adding, ‘but we’re not missing anything. Those folks in Glasgow have never tasted anything like this,’ as she served us from a platter of hot, crisp potato latkes crowned with silky onion rings sautéed in virgin olive oil until golden.

Another platter held piles of latkes sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and, on the side, a dish of homemade blackcurrant jam which Dad liked to spoon over the latkes. Ma was an adventurous cook, who nowadays would be called creative. In Shetland, she was ‘daring’. A pinch of grated nutmeg or ground mace would be added to the cinnamon sugar ‘to waken up your taste buds,’ she said, daring us to voice the slightest dislike. A Chanukah meat meal in my grandmother’s house had been fried salami and eggs — an impossibility in Shetland. However, Ma always looked on the positive side of things. ‘There’s no salami to be bought in this backwater, but we do have plenty of eggs and beef.’ Instead, she fried up a batch of sliced beef sausages and sliced onions in a big frying pan, whisked a dozen eggs to pour over them, and then stirred the mixture all together over a low heat with a well-used wooden spoon as if she were scrambling eggs. For good measure, triangles of brown bread were fried crisply in hot oil and arranged around the mounds of sausages and eggs. For me, this was a close second to a meal of latkes.

Each night the brass menorah was lit (the coloured candles to fit our menorah, unavailable in Lerwick, were ordered from Michael Morrison’s delicatessen in Glasgow), we sang Rock of Ages‘ [Maoz Tzur] and my brothers and I were given Chanukahgelt (money) on the first night.

We did not get gifts on other nights, but we might have something special at supper—an orange, a bar of chocolate, or a pink sugar mouse. Yes, we did have a Santa Claus decorating the dark fruitcake and we did hang up our stockings on Christmas Eve. Ma decided, ‘There’s no harm in it. They know we’re Jewish, and a few toys certainly won’t make them Christians.’ We didn’t call it entertaining. ‘Just come over for your supper,’ was the usual invitation. Cooking at anytime, whether for family or friends, was ‘from scratch’ using whole, basic ingredients. A fish supper from Charlie’s chip shop down by the Market Cross would be our modern takeaway. ‘Vinegar and salt on it?’ asked the cook, before she dexterously wrapped it in last week’s copy of the Shetland Times.

The fish was moist and flaky, the batter crisp and crunchy. Convenience foods, processors and microwave ovens were far off in the future. Vegetables, washed under ice-cold running water, needed to be peeled, diced or shredded by hand. … In keeping with the lesser custom of eating dairy foods at Chanukah, Ma made ‘keepin’ cakes’: rich in butter and eggs. There was the light fluffy coconut cake; cherry cake, a buttery pound cake studded with glazed cherries; sultana cake heavy with golden raisins; and her favorite, caraway seed cake, fragrant with the little nutty anise-like seeds.

As we baked, Ma told us all about how Judith [Yehudith in Hebrew], the brave Jewish widow, fed the enemy general, Holofernes, salty cheese and huge quantities of wine to quench his thirst. When he fell into a drunken stupor, Judith beheaded him and precipitated a Jewish victory.

Judith Beheading Holofernes.

In the cookbook Ma followed (Cooking the Jewish Way by Ann Wald), recipe methods are brief, assuming the housewife had quite a lot of culinary expertise. Baking was a production taking a good part of the day. There were no electric mixers. Butter and sugar were creamed to a light fluffiness by hand with a sturdy wooden spoon and a strong arm. Eggs and sugar were whisked with a rotary hand mixer.

A friend of Ma’s, an incomer from Aberdeen, was famous for her light sponge cakes. One day, as we were walking to tea, Ma explained, ‘She beats the egg and sugar with the flat of her hand.’ I never ate sponge cake in that lady’s house again. We had an electric oven for baking, but in the country areas and in the other islands, ovens were heated by peat and coal. Temperature was gauged by simply opening the oven door and cautiously feeling inside with your hand. The more scientific method was to sprinkle some flour on a baking pan and note how long it took to brown in the oven. For us children, the best part was licking the spoons and the mixing bowl—the batter, a promise of the good things to come.

At Chanukah, I go back to baking my mother’s recipes. Crunchy, crusted latkes and the spicy sweetness of home baked cakes evoke nostalgic memories, to be shared and treasured.

The latke song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwb1PnLcchw&feature=player_embedded







SOURCE: from the December 2006 Edition of the Jewish Magazine





http://www.chabad.org/holidays/chanukah/article_cdo/aid/102978/jewish/The-Story-of-Chanukah.htm ,

http://www.chabad.org/holidays/chanukah/default_cdo/jewish/Hanukkah.htm and





Happy chanikkeh !


200 y.o. chanikkeh-lomp from Ukraine

A 200 y.o. Dreidel, Poland

“I’m spending Chanuka in Santa Monica” with Tom Lehrer.



Chanukah Jewish Rock of Ages – Official Hanukkah Song (Video)
FREE: Download the MP3 http://www.aish.com/chanukah-download

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It was just a mistake!

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