Hanukkah or Chanukah, the eight-day festival of light that begins on the eve of Kislev 25, celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, of spirituality over materiality.
More than twenty-one centuries ago, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who sought to forcefully Hellenize the people of Israel. Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of God.
When they sought to light the Temple's menorah, they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks; miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.
To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah. At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting: a single flame on the first night, two on the second evening, and so on till the eighth night of Chanukah, when all eight lights are kindled.
Chanukah customs include eating foods fried in oil -- latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (doughnuts); playing with the dreidel (a spinning top on which are inscribed the Hebrew letters nun, gimmel, hei and shin, an acronym for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, "a great miracle happened there"); and the giving of Chanukah gelt, gifts of money, to children.
Learn more about The Story of Hanukkah/Chanukah and other Jewish traditions.
Wintertime often brings with it boredom and sadness due to being stuck in the house while the weather is dreary and cold. But, there is no reason for it to have to be this way. One of the least expensive and fun ways to get out in the fresh air and have a good time this winter is to go snow sledding.
To go snow sledding all you have to have is a sled (or something
similar that will slide on snow), snow, a hill, and yourself. The whole
family can dress in snow gear, and head out for a day of fun on the
hills. Most areas that get much snow have popular places for sledding
that can easily be found while driving around.
Still, snow sledding is not as easy as it may appear. In fact, CLICK
HERE to watch some very entertaining and eye-opening videos of a
few awesome snow sledding wipeouts and bloopers! These videos provide
the best reasons for why you must Click Here and learn all you can about
the wonderful world of snow sledding!