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Oh, Hanukkah

Erin Choi, Editor

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A sample of the Jewish community at WYMHS. (From left to right, picturing Ellie Zofkie ’18 and Kyra Sobel ’18 courtesy of Erin Choi ’18)

If you saw last week’s episode of DubTV, you’d have seen a pretty cool magic trick using Hanukkah gelt and slight of hand as my co-host Rahul Mikkilineni and I celebrated the start of Hanukkah. If you haven’t seen it, what are you doing? Go check it out!

 

This past Tuesday marked the first night of Hanukkah. A quick crash course for those unfamiliar with the subject of Hanukkah a.k.a. the Festival of Lights a.k.a. the Feast of Dedication: way back in the day–I’m talking 200 BC– the Seleucids tried to make Israelis drop their religion and take on Greek culture, then Judah the Maccabee led a small group of other Maccabees and took back the Holy Temple and Holy Land (Jerusalem). To celebrate they lit the Menorah (the candelabrum) using the only oil the Seleucids didn’t take and it lasted a long time (like 8 days).

 

To this day, observers of Hanukkah use the shamash (the candle in the middle) every night of Hanukkah to light the eight other candles on the menorah that represent those eight days the oil lasted. The celebrations are accompanied by blessings, songs, prayers, presents, playing dreidel, and fried foods like latkes and sufganyahs (jelly filled doughnuts). When speaking to members of the Jewish community at Whitney Young, they only had good words to say about the holiday: Gracie Holmes ’17 told me that “Hanukkah is so fun because I get to light the candles and sing Jewish songs” and Ellie Zofkie ’18 exclaimed “Hanukkah is like Christmas but times eight and we don’t have a tree, but we have a menorah which is metal and lights on fire!”

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Oh, Hanukkah