Text Examples for
Jewish Heritage

December 5, 2007
First Day of Chanukah

Rabbi Nahman of Braslav, 1772-1811:
"Come here, I will show you a new way to the Creator:
Not through speech, but through song!
Let us sing and Heaven will understand us."
[ top ]     
Chanukah, the Festival of Lights:
Chanukah, the Festival of Lights,
is a celebration of the victory of the Maccabees and the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple.

It also commemorates the miracle of the oil that burned for 8 days. Every year between the end of November and the end of December, Jewish people around the world celebrate the holiday of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. Chanukah begins on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, but the starting date on the western calendar varies from year to year.

The holiday celebrates the events which took place over 2,300 years ago in the land of Judea, which is now Israel.
[ top ]     
Chanukah Blessings:
1st Blessing
Praised are You,
Our God, Ruler of the universe,
Who made us holy through your commandments
and commanded us
to kindle the Hanukah lights.

2nd Blessing
Praised are You,
Our God, Ruler of the universe,
Who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors
in those ancient days
at this season.

3rd Blessing
Praised are You, Our God, Ruler of the universe,
Who has given us life
and sustained us
and enabled us to reach
this season.
[ top ]     
Potato Latkes:
4-5 large potatoes
1-2 onions
3 eggs
salt and pepper to taste (try using Cayenne pepper, too)
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3-4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
vegetable oil for frying

Peel and shred potatoes in the fine blade of the food processor. Place potatoes in a sieve over a sink and press out excess moisture. Place the potatoes in a bowl along with the remaining ingredients.
Mix thoroughly.
Heat oil in a large frying pan.
Working in batches, drop heaping spoonfuls of the mixture into the oil.
Fry until golden on both sides.
Drain on paper towels.
Serve with homemade applesauce and sour cream.
[ top ]     
Marshmallow Dreidels:
1 marshmallow

1 Hershey's kiss
1 3" licorice stick or toothpick

Assemble dreidel by pushing the licorice stick or
toothpick through the marshmallow.
Attach the chocolate kiss to the marshmallow with some icing.
Use the remainder of the icing to write the letters nun, gimmel, hei, and shin on each side of the marshmallow.
It may not spin well, but it sure does taste good!
[ top ]     
Hanukkah Dough Balls:
1 cup apple juice
4 oz. margarine (1 stick)
oil for frying
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Boil apple juice and add margarine stirring until melted. Keeping the pan on the burner, add flour until mixture forms a ball and doesn't stick to the sides of the pan. Remove from burner and beat in eggs one at a time. Heat the oil in a deep fryer, wok, or large frying pan.
Once oil is hot, the dough can be dropped by teaspoons into hot oil. Fry until golden brown making sure that the dough balls puff and are cooked evenly. Remove from oil with strainer and drain on paper towels.
Serve hot with assorted dips: cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, heated raspberry preserves, hot chocolate sauce, hot honey and chopped nuts, heated marmalade with shredded coconut.
[ top ]     
Hanukkah Songs:
Rock of Ages, let our song praise Your saving power.
You amid the raging throng were our sheltering tower.
Furious they assailed us, but Your help availed us.
And Your word broke their sword when our own strength failed us.
[ top ]     
S'vivon, sov, sov, sov:
S'vivon, sov, sov, sov!
Chanukkah, hu chag tov;
Chanukkah, hu chag tov;
S'vivon, sov, sov, sov

Chag simcha hu la-am
Nes gadol haya sham;
Nes gadol haya sham;
Chag simcha hu la-am.

(repeat first stanza)
[ top ]     
I Have a Little Dreidel:
I have a little dreidel,
I made it out of clay.
And when it's dry and ready,
Oh dreidel I shall play.


Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel,
I made it out of clay;
And when its dry and ready,
Then dreidel I shall play.

It has a lovely body,
With legs so short and thin.
And when it gets all tired,
It drops and then I win.

[ top ]     
Mi Y'maleil:
Mi y'maleil g'vurot Yisrael
Otan my yimneh?
Hein b'khol do yakum ha gibor
Go-eil ha-am

Sh'ma! Ba-yam ha-heim baz'man ha-zeh
Makabi moshiyah u-fodeh
Uv'yameinu kol a, Yisrael,
Yit'ached yakum l'hi-ga-el

Who can retell the things that befell them,
Who can count them?
In every age, a hero or sage
came to our aid.

Hark! In days of your
In Israel's ancient land.
Brave Maccabeus led the faithful band.
But now all Israel must as one arise,
Redeem itself through deed and sacrifice.
[ top ]     
Ma'oz TzurMa'oz Tzur or:
Composed by a man named Mordecia in Europe in the twelfth century.
Both the Hebrew and English words can be sung with the traditional melody,
though throughout the centuries a number of different tunes have been used to accompany Ma'oz Tzur.

Mao'z Tzur y'shu-ah-ti
L'kha na-eh, li'shaebei-ach
Tikkon beit t'filati
V'sham today n'zabeiach
Mitzar ham'nabeiah
Az egmore b'shir mizmor
Hanukkat hamiz'beiach
[ top ]     
Sabbath Prayer:
"May the Lord protect and defend you,
May he always shield you from shame;
May you come to be in Paradise a shining name
Strengthen them, oh Lord, and keep them from the stranger's ways
May God bless you and grant you long lives
May God make you good mothers and wives
Favor them oh, Lord, with happiness and peace
Oh, hear our Sabbath Prayer, amen."
[ top ]     
Sabbath Prayer Version 2:
May the Lord protect and defend you.
May He always shield you from shame.
May you come to be In Israel a shining name.
May you be like Ruth and like Esther. May you be deserving of praise.
Strengthen them, Oh Lord, And keep them from the strangers' ways.
May God bless you and grant you long lives. (May the Lord fulfill our Sabbath prayer for you.)
May God make you good mothers and wives. (May He send you husbands who will care for you.)
May the Lord protect and defend you.
May the Lord preserve you from pain.
Favor them, Oh Lord, with happiness and peace. Oh, hear our Sabbath prayer. Amen.
[ top ]     
A Hiking Prayer:
Master of the Universe
Grant me the ability to be alone;
May it be my custom to go outdoors each day
Among the trees and grass, among all living things.
And there may I be alone, and enter into prayer,
To talk with the one to whom I belong.
May I express there everything in my heart,
And may all the foliage of the field
(All grasses, trees, and plants)
May they all awake at my coming,
To send the powers of their life into the words of my prayer
So that my prayer and speech are made whole
Through the life and the spirit of all growing things,
Which are made as one by their transcendent source.
[ top ]     
Exceptional Women:
This is written in the Hebrew Talmud, the book where all of the sayings and preaching of Rabbis are conserved over time.

It says: "Be very careful if you make a woman cry, because God counts her tears.
The woman came out of a man's rib.
Not from his feet to be walked on.
Not from his head to be superior, but from the side to be equal.
Under the arm to be protected, and
next to the heart to be loved."
[ top ]     
Hanukah Traditions:

Savings bonds, checks, and small chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil-
these are the modern incarnations of the traditional gift known as Hanukkah
"Gelt" is a Yiddish term for "money." Although it is an old and cherished
custom, the roots of gelt-giving go back much further than the Middle Ages,
the era in which the custom is usually said to have originated.
Even though it is not mentioned in neither the Talmud
nor the Shulhan Arukh (the Code of Jewish Law),
the importance of coins in the history of the Hasmonean period is


A favorite Hanukkah food is latkes, or potato pancakes.
Originally, the pancakes were made of cheese.
From the custom of eating cheese delicacies
grew the custom of eating pancakes of all kinds.


Menorah is a Hebrew word meaning "candelabrum."
In relation to Hanukkah, it refers to the nine-branched ceremonial lamp
in which the Hanukkah candles are placed and then blessed.


Dreidel is a derivative of a German word meaning "top,"
and the game is an adaptation of an old German gambling game.
Hanukkah was one of the few times of the year when the rabbis
permitted games of chance. The dreidel, therefore, was a natural candidate
for Hanukkah entertainment.

The four sides of the top bear four Hebrew letters: nun, gimel, hei, and shin.
Players would begin by "anteing" a certain number of coins, nuts, or other objects.
Each one in turn would then spin the dreidel and proceed as follows:
nun ("nichts")-take nothing;
gimel ("ganz")-take everything;
hei ("halb")-take half;
shin ("shtell")-put in.
The winner would often receive money (Hanukkah gelt).
[ top ]     
Oh, Hanukkah:
Oh Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah,
Come light the menorah.
Let's have a party,
We'll all dance the hora.
Gather round the table,

Oh Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah,
Come light the menorah.
Let's have a party,
We'll all dance the hora.
Gather round the table,
We'll give you a treat.
S'vivon to play with,
Latkes to eat.

And while we are playing
The candles are burning low.
One for each night,
They shed a sweet light,
To remind us of days long ago;
They shed a sweet light,
To remind us of days long ago

We'll give you a treat.
S'vivon to play with,
Latkes to eat.

And while we are playing The candles are burning low. One for each night, They shed a sweet light, To remind us of days long ago; They shed a sweet light, To remind us of days long ago. Chorus
[ top ]