‘Heifer at Hanukkah’ empowers families

Frony Chaima from Malawi, with a heifer her family received from a Heifer International supporter

Heifer International is known for practical, philanthropic gift-giving. Since 1944, Heifer’s mission has been to end hunger and poverty through gifts that provide self-reliance. The organization currently offers 30 kinds of livestock, trees, seeds and agricultural training to needy families in 42 countries, including the United States. Donations may… Read more »

Linking to Lincoln on Chanukah

With this Chanukah season calling for a Lincoln connection, why not light a Lincoln menorah? (Edmon J. Rodman)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — We need to celebrate a Lincoln Chanukah this year. It’s not because of the new Spielberg movie — that gives us something to do on Christmas Day — but because of the 150th anniversary of a little-known event in American history that threatened to expel… Read more »

West Point’s Jewish choir sings for the president and diversity

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama listening to a performance by the West Point Jewish Chapel Cadet Choir in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Dec. 8, 2011. (Pete Souza/Official White House Photo)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — It doesn’t get more “only in America” than this: A Christian president with an African-born Muslim father throws a Chanukah party at the White House, and the featured act is the West Point Jewish Chapel Cadet Choir — a group that serves as a beacon of Jewish pride… Read more »

Giving the gift of tikkun olam

Do you, your family, neighborhood, Jewish agency or synagogue engage in a tikkun olam (repairing the world) project for Chanukah? Tell us about it! Send your story — no more than 300 words — to [email protected] by Dec. 14. If we print it in the Dec. 23 AJP, you’ll… Read more »

Handmaker hosts holiday party

Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging will hold a multicultural holiday celebration on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 2:30 p.m., focusing on winter holidays from around the world, including Chanukah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. Entertainment will include harpist Vesna Zalusky, who will play a medley of holiday songs. Activities will include… Read more »

Weintraub Israel Center family Chanukah party planned

The Weintraub Israel Center will hold its first community-wide, family-oriented early Chanukah party on Sunday, Dec. 18, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. “There are only two Jewish communities in which this holiday is so significant — the United States and Israel,” says Guy… Read more »

Linking to Jewish fair trade: The bike chain menorah

Bike chain menorah, a fair trade product hand made in India, creates a link to Jewish values. (Edmon J. Rodman)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — When on Chanukah we say “A great miracle happened here,” the “here” isn’t China. I thought it was. With bins of electric menorahs, strings of dreidel lights and flashing LED dreidels, all “Made in China,” I thought I had Chanukah covered. That is until I… Read more »

Pump up the volume: Music propels the way to a rededicated Jewish life

The Maccabeats, Yeshiva University's a capella group, with their 2010 YouTube sensation "Candlelight" freshens up the Chanukah story. (Courtesy Jewish Community Center of Paramus, N.J.)

NEW YORK (JTA) -- My 3-year-old son is obsessed with showing people his room, sidling sheepishly over to guests and asking, “Can I show you my room?” My son reminds me how important our "place" is -- "A Room of One's Own," in Virginia Wolff’s words. Our rooms make us… Read more »

Chanukah in Israel: Sufganiyot on the streets, burning lights and family fun

A woman on King George Street in Jerusalem appears perplexed picking from the array of sufganiyot choices for Chanukah. (Nati Shohat/Flash 90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — They’re making sufganiyot on the streets of Israel; Chanukah must be near. Actually it started feeling like Chanukah here about two days after Sukkot, when the first vendors started frying the delicious and caloric doughnuts in vats of oil in front of bakeries and on the… Read more »

Frying high: Keeping known, lesser-known culinary traditions

Chanukah mini-doughnuts are called ponchiki in Russian and ponchik in Yiddish. (Barry Kaplan/Jerusalem)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Latkes and sufganiyot, the jelly-filled doughnuts especially popular in Israel, are well-known Chanukah fare made with oil to signify the holiday tale. Lesser known is the tradition of cheese and the story of Judith. Like the Chanukah story, which is part of the Apocrypha — books not… Read more »

The word on new Chanukah books for kids

BOSTON (JTA) — Judah Maccabee, meet the Golem of Prague. And Rebecca Rubin, Engineer Ari, and Nathan and Jacob, two brothers who are part of a modern American Jewish family. They are among the characters who take center stage in this year’s crop of new children’s books for Chanukah,… Read more »

The Obama White House — and Washington — celebrate Chanukah

From left to right, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, the director of American Friends of Lubavitch, hanging onot his hat, joins Jack Lew, the director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and Rabbi Abraham Shemtov on a crane as Lew gets ready to light the National Menorah on the ellipse in front of the White House, Dec. 1, 2010.

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Chanukah is a story of a people standing alone to keep its lights aflame. This year in Washington, the message was of a people standing with friends — and even the not-so-friendly — to douse terrible flames. President Obama hosted the annual White House Chanukah party… Read more »

At site of Nazi power, a chanukah menorah at Brandenberg Gate

A costumed Maccabee stands at a Chanukah menorah-lighting ceremony at Berlin's Brandenberg Gate, Dec. 1, 2010. (Toby Axelrod)

BERLIN (JTA) — Icicles formed on Rabbi Yehudah Teichtal’s beard as he helped set up the towering menorah in the center of Berlin. It wasn’t just any menorah among the thousands that the Chabad-Lubavitch movement erects every Chanukah in public locations around the world. Teichtal, the Chabad rabbi in the… Read more »

Cocktail party recipes, tzedakah box craft can help get Chanukah glowing

Maccabee Martini and Savory Sweet Potato Sufganiyot

There is something about small lights glowing in the vast darkness that renews our childlike wonder: sparklers, flashlights, birthday candles. And we all remember “Lite-Brite,” the little black box of our childhood with the multicolored plastic pegs that, once plugged in, illuminated our designs. For Jews, there are the… Read more »

Chanukah on Christmas Avenue: Raising a Jewish family in Winterhaven

Gila Silverman’s husband, David, created this 10-foot dreidel the third year that the family lived in Winterhaven.

I live in a neighborhood known for its Christmas displays. No one is more surprised about this than I am. And, to my even greater surprise, I have found living here to be a moving experience. The one thing I have known for certain my entire life is that… Read more »