Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days and marks the victory of a group of Jews called the Maccabees over the Syrian Greeks, the most powerful army of the ancient world. At the end of a three year war the Maccabees recaptured Jerusalem and lit the eight-branched candelabrum, the Menorah, in the rededicated Holy Temple.
Nowadays Hanukkah is celebrated by lighting one candle on the Hanukkiah (an eight-branched candelabrum like the one in the temple) each day. Games of dreidel are played as a way of helping children to remember the great miracle of one small jar of oil found in the temple staying alight for eight days. The four letters on the dreidel form an acronym that means 'A great miracle happened here.'
We eat potato pancakes, latkes, and deep-fried doughnuts, sufganiot, once again to remind us of the miracle of the oil and the candles that burned for eight days.
In between all the candle lighting and doughnut eating, we escaped for a few days away up north. The weather was kind to us and we visited some beautiful places in the Golan Heights and the Galilee. We made a return trip to my most favourite place in Israel, the Agamon Lake in the Hula Valley, and I have plenty of gorgeous photos to show you in another post.
For now all that remains is for me to wish those of you celebrating, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have supported me and my blogging adventure throughout the year. I have enjoyed composing each and every one of my posts, and appreciate every comment and email that I receive.
Best wishes from Israel,