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It’s nearly Hanukkah time once again and do I have a most magical tale to share with you!
The Dreidel that Wouldn’t Spin | A Hanukkah Picture Book
The Dreidel That Wouldn’t Spin by Martha Seif Simpson and illustrated by Durga Yael Bernhard is a precious tale which shares an important message of the heart.
Two days before Hanukkah, a peddler goes to the toymaker’s shop and sells him a beautifully painted wooden dreidel. This particular dreidel comes just in time because the shopkeeper had sold his last dreidel.
“Remember,” said the peddler. “That the miracle of Hanukkah cannot be bought. “
In a strange series of events, two different children bought the dreidel and then returned it the next day insisting the dreidel didn’t spin. How does a dreidel not spin?
Each time the shopkeeper refunded the customers money. He himself would try spinning the dreidel and it always spun perfectly with no problems.
Later that same afternoon, a man and a boy came to the shop looking in the windows. They were very poor wearing ill-fitted and patch clothing. They had no money but the shopkeeper invited them in any way just to look around. The young boy was delighted in all that he saw and wanted nothing, just the joy of looking at everything.
The shopkeeper was so touched that he gave the boy the beautiful dreidel that wouldn’t spin for the other children. The shopkeeper told him that the dreidel was broken but this very special boy could make it spin. The boy with the golden heart could spin the dreidel. As the dreidel spun and landed it left a special message but I’ve told you enough of the story now. I’ll leave that for you to discover on your own.
This book is magically written and the story masterfully told. Durga Yael Benhard’s illustrations are colorful and captivating bringing this tale of the heart to life.
A Hanukkah Picture Book | Something To Do
Though I’m not Jewish, I can share that our best friends are and we’ve celebrated Hanukkah with them for years and years. Hanukkah is December 16th-24th this year!
What is Hanukkah?
Hanukkah is the Jewish holiday known as the Festival of Lights. Hanukkah lasts for eight nights, celebrating a miracle which happened a long time ago.
In 165 BC the Greek Emperor captured the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. A group of brave Jewish warriors known as the Maccabees recaptured the temple. As they were re-dedicating the Jewish Temple, they only had enough olive oil to light the sacred lamp, the menorah, for one day. This little bit of oil ended up lasting for eight days and nights. During Hanukkah, a new candle is lit each night for eight nights.
One of our favorite parts of the Hanukkah celebration is our friend Suzie’s Latke party. Latkes are potato pancakes. Here’s her fabulous recipe. Enjoy !!!
1 -1/2 pounds russet potatoes peeled
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons flour (or more)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
In a food processor grate the potatoes. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and transfer potatoes to the sieve. Set sieve over a bowl, twist cheesecloth into a pouch, squeezing out some moisture. Let mixture drain for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour off liquid from the bowl but leave the white potato starch that settles in the bottom of the bowl.
To that starch add shallots, eggs, flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt and freshly ground pepper. Return drained potatoes to this mixture and toss to combine.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking pan with paper towels. When you are ready to eat, in a large skillet heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium-high heat until hot. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of potato mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes a side; latkes should be golden and crisp on both sides. Eat right away or keep warm in oven. Serve with applesauce or sour cream or cottage cheese mixed with sour cream.
Dreidels and Chocolate
One of the nights of Hanukkah we head over to the Roseman’s for dinner, and some serious dreidel spinning and geld ( chocolate gold coins) eating.
The dreidel is a four-sided top which has four distinct letters in Hebrew on each side. The object of the game is to spin the dreidel and collect coins or candy depending upon what letter appears after each spin.
Each side of your dreidel will need to have on it one of the following Hebrew letters;
You can make your own Dreidel here.
Here’s how to play
Each player starts with some gelt (or money, sweets or counters). Each player puts one coin into the pot in the center. The players take it in turns to spin the dreidel, following the instructions of the letter which lands facing up.
נ = Nit (Nothing), play passes to next player.
ג = Gants (all), the player takes all of the pot.
ה = Half, the player takes half of the pot.
ש = Put, the player puts all of his coins into the pot.
Play can go either for a set amount of time or until one player has won all of the coins.
Make a Hand Print Menorah
It wouldn’t be the Festival of Lights without a Menorah. Here’s a great way to remember your little ones as they grow and celebrate at the same time. You can find it here.