Lighting of menorah marks Hanukkah tradition
Posted: December 10, 2012
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — More than a dozen local Jewish children and their parents came together to celebrate the start of Hanukkah with traditional food and customs Sunday evening.
The Hanukkah party, hosted by Anina Robb and her family at their home, is an annual tradition that started about four years ago to give Jewish families in the area a chance to gather and celebrate the holiday.
Hanukkah — the Jewish Festival of Lights — is an eight-day celebration that helps commemorate a Jewish victory over an empire that sought to outlaw the Jewish religion, and the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, Robb said.
Rachel Schwartz, a parent at the party, said that since the local Jewish community is so small it’s nice to have a chance to come together at the Hanukkah party.
While receiving gifts is one of the children’s favorite parts of Hanukkah, Robb and other parents use the party to help teach the children about their religion and traditions.
“We’ll light the menorah and we’ll say the blessings over the menorah,” Robb said, adding that when the children were younger, they were read a Hanukkah story.
Jon Wolke, a member of the Beth El Congregation synagogue on Fairmont Avenue in Winchester, said the annual party is fantastic.
While the parents had fun socializing with one another, the party is mainly for the children, Robb said. Besides spinning dreidels, the children raced through the house in search of dozens of Hanukkah gelt — traditional chocolate coins — and otherwise enjoyed hanging out with their friends.
Lucas Hustick, 9, said the part about Hanukkah he likes the most is when family and friends gets together and exchange presents. He said his favorite holiday tradition is lighting the menorah and eating traditional foods such as challah bread, although Lucas said he usually doesn’t eat latkes — potato pancakes — which are also traditional Hanukkah fare.
“I don’t like latkes. I don’t like potatoes,” he said.
Leo Howerdd, also 9, said some of his favorite Hanukkah traditions are lighting the menorah and giving and receiving gifts. His favorite Hanukkah gift that he has given was a bag that he made that had a Hanukkah card inside that he gave to his parents.
When Carter Naiman, 8, said his favorite part of Hanukkah is spending time with his family, a nearby friend of his parents jokingly asked if Carter’s parents had told him to say that.
“No,” Carter said with a smile, adding that he also looks forward to spinning the dreidel and blessing the menorah candles.
With a smile, Sam Cornette, 9, said the favorite gift he has received during Hanukkah was a Nerf gun.
Hanukkah began at sundown Saturday and ends the evening of Dec. 16.
— Contact Matt Armstrong email@example.com