Maintaining With a Busy Schedule
The holiday season is a busy one and that goes for those celebrating Hanukkah, too. In fact, since Hanukkah lasts for eight nights, one can easily find it overwhelming. Imagine celebrating eight days in a row! Traditionally, Hanukkah gifts are exchanged each night of Hanukkah, often causing some non-Jewish kids to joke that they also want to celebrate Hanukkah.
Hanukkah is filled with customs and traditions that allow for some greater flexibility. For example, sometimes my family will not exchange gifts every night, but rather may double up when we are all together. Like many households, some nights we are all moving in four separate directions. The one certain thing is one of us will light the menorah each night, regardless of whether we are all present.
While the gifts are often small items, the fact that Jewish children get eight gifts adds excitement to the holiday celebrating the Miracle of Lights. Like Christmas, every family has different traditions surrounding the holiday based on customs, holiday budgets, etc. A few Hanukkah staples in most homes include dreidels (small spinning tops) and Hanukkah gelt (chocolate coins). It is common to see Hanukkah gifts such as gift cards, clothing, toys, books and games. Whether celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, kids typically hope for similar items.
With ever-growing responsibilities, I have changed a few things to maintain the traditions yet improve efficiency. Although it’s not the healthiest, eating foods cooked in oil is traditional at this time of year. Each year I make potato latkes, also known as potato pancakes. I must admit, I use a food processor now rather than hand grating each potato, saving me time and skin!
The holiday of Chanukah, another spelling for Hanukkah, is fun and at the same time carries the important message of religious freedom for all. Chanukah once again reminds us that we are fortunate to live in the United States, where we can observe and celebrate our own beliefs. May your holiday celebration be one of joy.
By Gary Parkes
Public Menorah Lightings
The City of Acworth Menorah Lighting Ceremony. 6 p.m. Corner of Cowan Road and Main Street. Rabbi Zalman Charytan from the Chabad Jewish Center will officiate. Mayor Tommy Allegood will assist. For more information, visit Acworth Parks and Recreation or call 770-917-1234.
Ice Menorah Lighting at The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta will begin at 4:15 p.m. with an ice carving, followed by the lighting ceremony at 5:15 p.m. The event features hot latkes, menorahs, dreidels, Chanukah gelt and family events. Music by the Atlanta Jewish Men’s Choir. Sponsored by the Chabad Jewish Center and The Outlet Shoppes, 915 Ridgewalk Parkway, Woodstock. www.jewishwoodstock.com
Menorah Lighting on Marietta Square. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Glover Park Stage at Marietta Square, 50 Park Square, Marietta. Congregation Ner Tamid to hold ceremony. Hanukkah music, dreidel games and hot chocolate. PJ Library will have a table with books and crafts. Rabbi Joseph Prass will lead prayer as the giant menorah is illuminated. All are welcome. Arrive early for free parking in the municipal garage on Cherokee Street. For more information about the event or Congregation Ner Tamid, go to www.mynertamid.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 678-264-8575.