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Chanukah, oy khaneke!
Who knew that “menorah,” the familiar American Jewish term for the Hanukkah candelabrum, comes from Ladino? In Yiddish, the nine-branched candle holder is a khanike-lempl (Hanukkah lamp), and in Israeli Hebrew it’s a hanukia. That’s not the only linguistic confusion surrounding the Festival of Lights. According to Dovid Braun, “there are more English spellings of Chanukah than there are branches on the menorah. . . . The oy of the age-old Yiddish song ‘Khaneke, oy khaneke!‘ is on the one hand a shout of enthusiasm towards this joyous festival, and on the other a plaintive exclamation about spelling woes.”
Hanukkah Foods and the Stories Behind Them
In a conversation with Lisa Newman, Tina Wasserman, author of Entrée to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora and Entrée to Judaism for Families: Jewish Cooking and Kitchen Conversations with Children, shares recipes and tells everything you ever wanted to know about traditional Hanukkah cuisine.
“Drey dreydele (Spin Dreidel)”: An Interactive Assignment
Moyshe Oysher (1906–1958) was a celebrated khazn (cantor) and an irrepressible performer of Yiddish songs. Asya Vaisman Schulman, the director of our Yiddish Language Institute, borrows one of Moyshe Oysher’s favorite Hanukkah songs to create an imaginative, interactive exercise for the whole family, complete with original lyrics, transliteration, and Asya’s own translation.
Songs and Memories from the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project
Jews love telling stories about Hanukkah. Here’s a reel of some of our favorites.