First Hanukkah for our Catholic family

Born and raised Irish Catholic, this is our family's first Hanukkah. Andrew attends a fabulous Jewish play school in Chicago, JCYS (registration open now for the next year), that welcomes every faith. He is delighted to point out the lantern of our Santa Clause decoration is a dreidel! There is a striking resemblence...

Santa carries a dreidel

Santa carries a dreidel

Andrew bursts into song everywhere. "Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made you out of clay." He sings it in the car...

We've learned more about the Jewish faith and shared different holidays as part of the JCYS family. Hanukkah, the festival of lights, is a beautiful tradition. We celebrate with his school next Tuesday.

JCYS teaches its kids and shares with parents the rich Jewish history. Hanukkah begins this Friday. It celebrates the oppression and genocide their people overcame in their homeland of Jerusalem. Although the Jewish people were outnumbered, their wise strategy allowed them to succeed.  

The holiday honors Judah Maccabee winning back their city and freeing the Jews. They relit the special Menorah candle, the seven-branched oil lamp that remains lit during the eight day holiday. Hanukkah is Hebrew for re-dedication. 

Some who celebrate Hanukkah open presents every night of the holiday, which lasts eight nights. Andrew wants eight nights of gifts. We remind him some families honor Hanukkah without gifts, which is the school's focus.  They tikkun olam, which means heal the world.

JCYS is collecting donations for the Lakeview Food Pantry. We shop for food to donate for tzedakah, Hebrew for charity. We also teach Andrew how we donate through our church.

Meanwhile, our picky eater, Andrew, is so happy to share his Challah bread from school with us from the North Shore Kosher Bakery. He also likes the traditional potato latkes and apple sauce that will be part of our feast. We look forward to their Susan Salidor Chanaukah concert and lighting the menorah.

Happy Hanukkah! And, please link in comments to share your holiday traditions - old and new...

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Filed under: family

Tags: Hanukkah, JCYS, Jewish holidays

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