New Ideas for Hanukkah


So, I know that technically, we have two and a half weeks before the start of Hanukkah (17 days to be exact, but who’s counting?) but I feel like there’s a lot that can be said about Hanukkah, so I’m going to start today. 🙂

Hanukkah is coming and with it comes a great dilemma for those of us with kids. As the holiday has become more commercialized, the material aspect of our world rears it not so pretty head. We’ve got eight nights to fill and we don’t want to end up with really spoiled children. My challenge comes with my extended family. My kids are the only grandkids on my husband’s side so Bubbe and Saba like to give them a gift each night. Then there are the presents from my parents and my siblings. If we add in the presents I want to give, my kids could end up with something upwards of 30 presents each! Yikes! Every year, I try to think of new things to do to try to nurture and encourage the giving spirit in my children during Hanukkah. I’ll share a few with you. If you have others that work in your family,please share them!

Choose a theme for each night of Hanukkah.

  1. Latke Night or Sufganiyot Night – special days for special foods.
  2. Mitzvah Night – Choose a charity to support and do a mitzvah as a family, go read to kids at the children’s hospital, work with other families to provide a meal for families at Ronald McDonald House, go light candles and spend some time at Einstein Center with Jewish seniors.
  3. Giving Day – (this one must be done in advance) Choose a family from a giving tree at the mall or at your child’s school and go as a family to purchase gifts for a family in need.
  4. Clean Out Day – Have your children go through their toys and clothes and take out gently used toys to donate to the Salvation Army or a child care center. A good formula is to have them get rid of the same number of toys they are receiving.
  5. Honor our Parents Day – have a day or evening where the kids do something extra nice for the family (or for their grandparents) such as doing the dishes, making dinner, dusting the living room, etc. Make a big deal about how helpful it is when they contribute to the family.
  6. Friends Night – Have an evening where you light the candles with friends, play dreidel, decorate cookies and have fun together. It doesn’t have to be a big party, just fun with a few people is really wonderful too.
  7. Starry Night – Stay up a little bit later, wrap up in warm clothes and blankets, and go star gazing. See what constellations you can see. Talk about how light affect our lives, where we see it in our world and what our world might be like without it.

What are your Hanukkah traditions? We’d all love to hear about them!

 +++++++++++ Announcements +++++++++++

Check out the Temple Or Rishon Hanukkah Boutique in the foyer. Get your Hanukkah candles, menorahs, dreidels and gifts.

Wednesday, December 7th @ 6:30pm – Hebrew School and Madrichim Training

Friday, December 9th @ 10am – Gan K’tan

Saturday, December 10th @ 5pm – Annual School Fundraiser. You can still come for dinner and support our school programs!

Sunday, December 11th

  • @ 9am – Religious School
  • @11:30am – Tie-Dye Event for those who ordered T-Shirts

Wednesday, December 14th @ 6:30pm – Hebrew School

Friday, December 16th

  • @ 6pm – Tot Shabbat
  • @ 6:45pm – Molly Guerzon’s Bat Mitzvah Weekend begins

Saturday, December 17th @ 10am Molly Guerzon’s Bat Mitzvah. Mazel Tov Molly!

Sunday, December 18th from 10 to noon – Hanukkah Happening. Join us for a fun Hanukkah themed carnival with games, crafts and latkes. $5 suggested donation per child.

++++++++++ Religious School Update ++++++++++


Miss Laurie’s class is starting to learn about Hanukkah. They read stories and did activities to explore what the holiday is all about. I know our kids are excited about Hanukkah. Ask them what their favorite thing about the Holiday is! The class made Hanukkah cards for their families and families in need. Next week, they’ll be making their own menorahs!

First/Second Grade

This week, our first and second grade students learned about the story of Hanukkah. They read about the miracle of the oil and painted their own oil lamps. The class is also learning different Hebrew letters and practicing making words from them. Ask them to tell you the letters they have learned so far (alef, bet, gimmel, dalet). See if they can share some of the words they’ve learned as well!

Third Grade

Our third grade had a guest teacher this past week. Minerva, one of our art teachers, taught the class. They had a great time imagining themselves as super heros, saving the world around them. They also had fun making Hanukkah cards for their families and also for people in our congregation who are in need.

Fourth/Fifth Grade

Our fourth and fifth graders also talked about Hanukkah and the story of the Maccabees. The each practiced the candle blessing and showed mastery in Hebrew and English! In addition, the class began learning about the creation story and discussed the first words of the Torah.

As you know, Sara will no longer be teaching on Wednesday evenings. Do not fret, we will find a qualified teacher to take that spot!

Sixth Grade

As always, the sixth grade Sundays are packed with learning and discussion. This week they talked about Hanukkah and practiced the blessings for before and after reading Torah. The class has all of their famous Jewish figures picked out and their presentation dates have been assigned as well.

In Hebrew lab, they are working on putting words together and sounding out words that they do not already know.

Seventh Grade

Our seventh graders are working hard on their prayers with Avi. They are making great progress. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to them read, and I’ve also had some great discussions with them about prayer and talking/listening to God. I’m really looking forward to Molly’s bat mitzvah on December 17th! I hope everyone will be there to support her!