Eight Candles  |  Eight Rituals

 Something Special to Do for Each Chanukah Night

By Rabbi Paul J. Kipnes, Congregation Or Ami, Calabasas, CA

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 FIRST CANDLE: Before lighting candles, invite everyone to help recall what they remember about the story of the Maccabees and Chanukah.  Following the retelling, challenge family members to find a more complete version of the story to tell in the next few days (look on the web, ask teachers or rabbi, or check out the library)

  

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 SECOND CANDLE: Buy a Chanukah book from the local bookstore (and read it) to accomplish three things:  (a) expand your Jewish library, (b) encourage the bookstore to expand its Chanukah offerings, and (c) ensure that you read the story of the Maccabees.
 
 

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THIRD CANDLE: Create a short skit re-enacting a part of the Chanukah story.  Retelling the story of the Maccabees is a central part of the Chanukah ritual.

 

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 FOURTH CANDLE: Come to Congregation Or Ami’s Chanukah Services (check the calendar for the service date and time.  Bring friends, a chanukiah and candles, and your entries into the Creative Chanukiah Making Contest and the Luscious Latke Taste-Off.  Join Rabbi Paul Kipnes and Cantor Doug Cotler as we celebrate our festival of freedom. 

  

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 FIFTH CANDLE:  Play the dreidle game by having all the players ante up into a common pot, using M&M’s, pennies or peanuts in the shell. Each player takes turns spinning the dreidle and winning or losing depends on what letter shows when the spinning stops!  Nun stands for nothing; the player neither gives nor takes from the pot.  Gimel stands for all; the play takes all the pot.  Hey stands for half; the player takes half the pot.  Shin stands for put in; the player adds one to the pot.  (If the pot empties, each player antes up again.) Remember the letters stand for Nes Gadol Haya Sham, a Great Miracle Happened There.

 

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 SIXTH CANDLE: Designate this night for the children give Chanukah presents to parent(s).  Set aside time earlier in the day for the child to make a present or a card. 

 

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 SEVENTH CANDLE: Choose organizations that support freedom and/or the needy and as a family send donation checks to Tzedakah in honor of Religious Freedom.

    

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 EIGHTH CANDLE:  As you end the holiday, have each family member recall the gifts (besides the presents they received for Chanukah) for which they are most thankful.