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Wednesday, December 20, 2006


On This Night, Let Us Light...

Glass Dreydles"...six little Hanukkah candles."

That's from a song that Jewish kids sing in Nursery School to learn about Hanukkah. And tonight, we will light six candles for the sixth day of this eight-day holiday.

Today's photo of glass dreydles was part of a self-assignment to make photographs for Hanukkah three years ago.

I'd never seen little glass dreydles like these before that time. They were at the annual Hanukkah Bazaar run by our Synagogue's Sisterhood. I asked the "sisters" afterwards if I could borrow their stock for some photos.

The don't spin worth a darn, but they sure are nice to look at.

The Hanukkah dreydle has on its four sides the Hebrew letters, Nun, Gimmel, Hey, and Shin. This stands for the sentence, Nes gadol hayah sham, which means "A great miracle happened there."

The "there" means Israel, or more specifically, the Second Temple in Jerusalem. And the miracle refers to the miracle of the little jar of oil, which should have only been enough for one day but lasted for eight.

And that's why we celebrate Hanukkah 2,171 years after the event it commemorates. The miracle of the oil is why we light candles for eight nights, and, by the way, why we eat oil-fried foods on Hanukkah.

Ashenazim, Jews whose more recent ancestors lived in Northern and Eastern Europe, eat potato latkes, or pancakes. Sephardim, Jews whose families lived in places like Iberia, North Africa, Italy, or Turkey, eat sufganiot, which are donuts.

Wherever you live and wherever you are from, Hanukkah, the Festival of Light, is a time of miracles - may you each be granted a miracle of your own!

What a lovely post, Steve, about your Jewish heritage! I love being educated in these things, which helps to make our world smaller.

It was so nice to hear from you again! Thanks a million.
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