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December 02, 1988 - Image 85

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-12-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

110, 1

Adults Have Fond Chanukah Memories

friany of us can look at
is past without a tear or
/warm feeling from the
gy res the holiday brings?
Mber having the whole family
. for latkes, jelly donuts and
dreidel? Or, what about
getting Chanukah gelt that burned a
hole in your pocket? Remember
learning the blessing over the
candles in Hebrew school and
practicing it over and over so when
the special night arrived you were
to recite it proudly?
Everyone has their own notions
r / of what Chanukah means to them.

The residents at the Jewish Home
for Aged, at its Borman Hall, Prentis
Manor and Fleischman Residence
facilities shared their memories with
L'Chayim. Following are some of

"Chanukah means everything
in the world to me. I am an
Orthodox Jew and have lived at the
Jewish Home for Aged for nearly 30
years. They always make Chanukah
a wonderful event here and the
tradition is a special part of being
— Rose Lopates
Borman Hall

The Symbols Of Chanukah


The most important symbol of
Chanukah is the eight-branched
menorah, called chanukiah. Another
name for Chanukah is the Festival
of Lights. There are eight specific
rules about the lighting of the
It should be lit in a window or a
place where all will see, so that
"the miracle is made known."
The candles are lit immediately
at the appearance of the stars and
--should burn for at least one-half
During the time the Chanukah
, candles are burning, their light may
not be used for any other purpose,
such as to light something or to
read by. We are to enjoy the light,
to remember the miracle they
symbolize and to praise God.
The shamash, the helping or
serving candle, is to be placed
higher than the others.
Facing the chanukiah, the first
candle is placed in the right holder.
One additional candle is added
each night.
When lighting the candles,
;always light them from left to right,
_y-/- honoring the new candle first.
Two blessings are recited
followed by the lighting of the
candles by the shamash.
On the first night of Chaukah
the Shehecheyanu is added to the
blessings to thank God for reaching
this special season.
The Festival of Chanukah is a
happy time. It is celebrated by doing
those things that give happiness
and joy. Gifts are exchanged, songs
are sung and there is a special
game for the holiday, dreidel
(Yiddish) or s'vivon (Hebrew)
meaning top. It is a four-sided
spinner with a Hebrew letter on
each side. The letters are nun,
gimel, hey and shin. They stand for
Nes Gadol Haya Sham, meaning "A



great miracle happened there." In
Israel, the letter shin is replaced by
the letter pey, for the word poh,
changing the words to "A great
miracle happened here."
The rules for playing the game,
while any number can play, are:
Each player puts a penny or any
other object in the middle of the
pot. The s'vivon is spun by one
player at a time. Whether the
players wins or loses depends on
which face of the top is up when it
stops spinning and falls. Nun means
"nothing." The player does nothing.
Gimel means "all." The player takes
everything in the pot. Hey means
"half." The player takes half of what
is in the pot. Shin means "put in."
The player adds an object to the
pot. When only one object or none
is left in the pot, every player adds
one. When an odd number of
objects are in the pot, the player
rolling hey takes half the total plus
one. When one person has won
everything, the game is over.
It is uncertain as to how the
custom of Chanukah gifts started.
Until fairly recently, only money was
given on Chanukah, and only on
one night. Today, the few coins that
were given as Chanukah gelt or
D'mai Chanukah, have grown into
elaborate presents and even to gifts
given on every night of the festival.
Latkes (Yiddish) or I'vivot
(Hebrew) meaning "pancakes" are
the special food for Chanukah.
There are many legends about why
potato pancakes are eaten on
Chanukah. One story claims that
the Maccabees survived on potato
pancakes, when they fought the
Syrians. Another story has to do
with the significance of the oil that
is used for frying the pancakes.

Mrs. Kreichman is principal of the
Adat Shalom Branch of the United
Hebrew Schools and head principal
of the UHS.

"At Chanukah, we eat plenty of
latkes which I help make. It is a gay
holiday which brightens up the lives
of Jewish people. I also enjoy
playing dreidel and hope many
Jews will come to Borman Hall
during the holiday."
— Ira Boykansky
Borman Hall

"Chanukah is a joyous holiday,
when I can get together with my
children and grandchildren. My
sons-in-law make the latkes and
being with the family makes me feel
— Bessie Cohen
Borman Hall

"It's a good holiday, because most
people observe it. Chanukah
doesn't let them forget they're
— Benjamin Rosenthal
Borman Hall

"At Chanukah, I always look
forward to giving presents to
children. They don't always know
the meaning of the holiday without
gifts. I've always lit the candles as a
religious symbol."
— Eva Silk
Prentis Manor

"Chanukah is remembered as a
very distressful period in history and

as the end of the first struggle for
freedom. It lasted for hundreds of
years through generations. We
should consider Chanukah a
celebration like the American Fourth
of July."
— Fannie Levin
Prentis Manor

"This is a yontiff shaynah.
There isn't another one like it. We
eat Chanukah latkes and we are
feeling very happy about it.
— Gussie Wringler
Fleischman Residence

"I'm happy when we can get
together as a family with
grandchildren. We can do that at
Chanukah and we have a good
time. When I was a little girl, my
mother taught me to light the
candles and I still do it with electric
bulbs in my room."
— Pauline Miller
Fleischman Residence

"As an Orthodox Jew, I believe
in Chanukah and all of the holidays.
It's a festive occasion. Each holiday
has a different significance, but all
of them have to do with faith in God
and His ways. We sing Chanukah
songs, and when my children were
younger, we used to give gifts."
— Rachel Bodzin
Fleischman Residence

Facing The 'December Dilemma'

Each December at holiday time,
Jewish students in public schools
must face the "December
Dilemma," maintaining their Jewish
identity amid the onslaught of
Christmas celebrations and
Four local teenagers recently
responded to a L'Chayim
questionnaire on the issue. Here are
their responses:
"I know that I enjoy celebrating
Chanukah as well as every other
Jewish holiday and being public
about it. The non-Jews should be
allowed to celebrate their holidays
as they wish, as long as it doesn't
interfere with my life. Being around
non-Jews who celebrate Christmas
only strengthens my Jewish identity.
West Bloomfield keeps Christmas
pretty low key because they realize
the large percentage of Jews.
Unfortunately, if they did make more
of a fuss about Christmas, I don't
think that many people would be
offended. It just comes down to
their right to pride in their religion."
— David Tessler, 18
West Bloomfield High School

"At West Bloomfield it isn't very
difficult to maintain a Jewish
identity. To counter any Christmas
propaganda I do encounter,
December is a month in which
almost all of my attention is focused
on our (B'nai B'rith Youth
Organization) regional convention."
— Robert Weiss, 17
West Bloomfield High School

"Luckily in my high school, it is
not a problem. We have many
programs dealing with both Jewish
and Catholic holidays. One is not
stressed more than the other. In
addition, I have no problem
maintaining my Jewish identity."
— Lisa Eidelman, 17
Berkley High School

"My school advertises the
holiday season, not the Christmas
season. Nearly every minority is
represented in the student
population, including a great
number of Jews, so I don't have a
problem maintaining my
— Becca Broder, 16
Berkley High School



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