By Kasey Zhang,
Sophomore Connor Dinnell’s favorite Hanukkah tradition is singing the prayer for the traditional Challah bread and passing it around.
“It’s really good bread and I only eat it a couple times a year,” Dinnell said.
Dinnell’s family play a common game called dreidel. He explains how you spin the four sided dreidel and either add or take away from the small game pieces in the middle pot, depending on the size you land on.
“It’s sort of like gambling,” Dinnell said.
Out of the several traditional dishes his family eats at their feast, Dinnell favors one in particular.
“My favorite is gelt because it’s chocolate. Also you can bet with it when you play dreidel,” he said.
DaVinci Charter Academy sophomore Elan Kalman and his family light a candle each day of the holiday until they have lit all eight candles on the menorah. Kalman’s parents usually host a party for all of their friends.
“We eat food and drink and have fun,” Kalman said.
His family has its own tradition where they create a gift out of wood, paper and other materials. They then give their self-made present to a specific person.
Sophomore Jacob Kelman’s family has a unique way to give out presents.
“One fun thing our family does is hiding presents and playing a hot and cold game instead of just giving them,” Kelman said.
During Hanukkah, the Kelman’s family specialty is latkes, which are fried potatoes, and fried dough with jam inside called sufganiyot.
“Challah is probably my favorite because I remember as a little kid, I would have so much fun making it with my grandma,” Kelman said.
Kelman usually spends the holiday with family.
“I like spending the holiday with my family because lots of them live on the East Coast and in Canada, I don’t get to see them very often,” Kelman said.
Rabbi Greg Wolfe of the Congregation Bet Haverim in Davis tells the story behind the traditions of Hanukkah.
“Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem […] attempting to relight the menorah, the Maccabees found only enough oil for one day,” Rabbi Wolfe said.
This oil however, lasted for eight days.
“This is the miracle of Hanukkah,” Rabbi Wolfe said.
This is why Jews eat foods cooked in oil.
“We light the Hanukkah menorah each night to celebrate the miracle of light during the darkest time of year,” Rabbi Wolfe said.
Sophomore Mady Barth loves to be around and celebrate with family around Hanukkah.
“My favorite tradition that my family does is having a family Hanukkah party and sharing gifts with all my relatives,” Barth said.
In Barth’s family, there is really only one traditional food with importance: Challah.
“To be perfectly honest, it’s the only one that my family brings to the table consistently,” Barth said.
Sophomore Maya Alexander’s favorite tradition is also making the food.
“I really like making all the food because it tastes super good and it’s a lot of fun,” Alexander said.
Her family’s favorite dish during Hanukkah is Latkes with applesauce, which is also good with honey or sour cream.
Nadav Gheber, a former resident in Davis who now lives in a small town in Israel called Omer, compares the traditions of Hanukkah in America to those celebrated in Israel.
In Israel, they celebrate a tradition called “Dmei Hanukkah”, which translates to money of Hanukkah from Hebrew.
“The oldest generation of the family gives the generation below a symbolic amount of money, like two dollars,” Gheber said.
The following generations pass it down to the next generation until the money gets to the final generation, who finally gets to keep the money.
“In Israeli, unlike in the U.S., we don’t get presents, we just get money plus the money from the ‘Dmei Hanukkah,’ ” Gheber says.