• March 1What do our dreams mean? Find out on in our article!

  • March 1At what age should a person be able to vote at? Find out in our article!

  • November 29Why was the loss of the Notre Dame sad? Find out in our article!

Hanukah, What’s that?

Back to Article
Back to Article

Hanukah, What’s that?


Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Hanukah. Some people, when they hear that word, don’t know what it means. Others might know all about it. If you are one of the people that say, “I don’t want to be offensive or anything, but I know nothing about Hanukah.” Then, this article is for you! So, I know a lot about Hanukah and I am here to tell you about it. And trust me it, won’t be boring. Let me start by telling you the story of Hanukah.

A super long time ago in the land of Israel, which was then called Canaan, there lived the Israelites, who are now called the Jews. They lived there very happily until the Greeks, led by Antiochus IV Epiphanes, came and changed everything! The Israelites studied Torah, observed Shabbat, went to temple, and did not eat pork or anything that is not kosher. The Greeks did not respect that. They came to Canaan and said to the Jews, “I don’t like you and we are going to make you just like us!” They destroyed their holy temple,  forbade the Israelites to celebrate Shabbat and read the Torah or practice any of their religion. They made them worship idols, and they slaughtered pigs and put their guts and blood all over the place! It was a horribly dark time. The Israelites had to hide in caves to practice their religion because they didn’t want anyone to forget that they were the Israelites and they simply decided they weren’t going to put up with it anymore. It was payback time! The Israelites formed an army called the Maccabees and they were led by a very special person named Judah.

The Maccabees were a very small army who only carried spears, swords, and shields. The Greeks had a massive army with elephants and much more advanced armor and equipment! The Maccabees didn’t care. They fought the Greeks anyway, persevered and won the war! Most of the Greeks perished in the war and those who didn’t fled back to their homes far away from the Israelites. When the war was over, everyone was rejoicing until they realized they didn’t have oil to light the Menorah. The Menorah is the symbol of Judaism and is a candelabrum with seven branches. The Israelites rummaged through the remains of their town and found a tiny bit of oil that they thought would only be enough to keep the Menorah lit for one night, but then a miracle happened! The Menorah stayed lit, not for one night, but for 8 nights. Now, thousands of years later, we light the Hanukkiah which is a Menorah but with 8 branches and one extra one called the Shamash that is the helper that lights all the other candles. To celebrate this joyous holiday, we eat “Sufganiyot” which are jelly filled donuts and we also eat latkes which are “potato pancakes.” Another tradition, mostly appealing to the children, is the game of dreidel! In the game of dreidel, we spin a top with different Hebrew letters on the side. Each letter means you either earn more or loose chocolate coins! Those are the fun traditions of Hanukah but the most important thing we do for Hanukah is that every night we light one candle on the Hanukkiah and we remember that miracles can happen.

If you are interested in learning more about Hanukah or another Jewish holiday or tradition you can join Cushman’s very own Jewish study group!


(From left to right): Sufganiyot, Hanukiah, Latke. The small tops in the bottom are the Dreidels.


18 Responses to “Hanukah, What’s that?”

  1. Herschel From Israel on November 29th, 2018 7:44 am

    Shalom my friend! This article is on point and I can’t wait to share this with my family in Israel during Hanukah!!!

  2. Marcoschamer Samuel on December 1st, 2018 7:40 am

    Hi Maia,
    Beautifully written and accurate description of The Festival of Lights. Looking forward to enjoy a lot of Latkes and Sufganiots that they are also called Pontshkes by some Jewish Communities.
    Proud of you!

  3. Naomi Siegler on December 1st, 2018 11:26 am

    I love how you explain Hanukiah is such warm and friendly words. ‘‘Tis the season to share!
    Mrs. Siegler

  4. Samuel Marcoschamer on December 2nd, 2018 1:05 pm

    Maiush, I am so proud of you accomplishments and now we discover another talent in you, writing!
    Well written the story and I look forward to eat a lot of Latkes and Sufganiot tonight at your home in the company of the whole family.
    By the way, many years ago when I went to my elementary jewish school they called the “Sufganiot”: “Pontschkes”, Yidish for the same great Hanukah doughnut.

  5. Jill Sevilla on December 3rd, 2018 8:08 am

    Great job, Maia! I love that Cushman embraces the cultures and celebrations of all people, and your article really helps everyone understand what Hanukkah is all about!

  6. Anna Blackman on December 4th, 2018 9:52 am

    Thank you for your enlightening article Maia. I truly learned something new. Can’t wait for your next piece.
    Happy Hanukah to you and yours!
    Dr. B,

  7. Evan Jay Gavara on December 4th, 2018 10:04 am

    i like how you put this article for jewish people to tell them that cushman is a place where you can be whatever religion and nice article

  8. Ann Gorman on December 4th, 2018 10:43 am

    I loved reading your article about Hanukkah.

  9. Emilio on December 4th, 2018 12:06 pm

    Good Job I loved reading about Hannukah

  10. Alexandra Woods on December 4th, 2018 1:39 pm

    Beautiful article!!

  11. Claudia Moore on December 4th, 2018 1:50 pm

    What a wonderful article. I learned new things about Hanukkah.
    Thank you.

  12. Amy Downerd on December 5th, 2018 6:57 am

    What a beautifully written article! Loved your message that miracles can happen! Wonderful job!

  13. Mr. Field on December 5th, 2018 7:15 am

    Happy Hanukkah! This is a great article highlighting the wonderful history of the Jewish people. Don’t forget, we have Hanukkah books in the library that are fun for all ages! Come check us out and read them with your family. Thank you Maia for showcasing a very special holiday.

  14. Mr. De La Pena on December 5th, 2018 8:18 am

    Dear Maia,

    I am one of those people who knew very little about Hanukkah, besides it being is a Jewish celebration. So your article was for me! and it was not boring at all, so your promise was totally kept! I actually enjoyed reading it a lot! (read it several times!) Thanks to your article now I know a lot more!

    I love Sufganiyot and latkes and from now on I will remember this story whenever I eat them! I believe it is very important that all Jewish children learn about the traditions that have kept their people together for centuries even when they have been separated by distance and have made them always insatiable learners and very educated, and all children should learn about each other’s traditions so they respect and love each other!

    It would be great if you celebrate every Jewish holiday with an article explaining their meaning so the rest of us can learn more about your people and their values.

    May a miracle happen and peace and love reign all over our planet!

    It has been a true pleasure to read this article and I thank you for it!

  15. Mrs. Davis on December 5th, 2018 8:59 am

    I knew some of this, but now I feel like I have a much better handle on this. The fourth grade presents the story at our winter assembly. Good job.

  16. Erica Piana on December 5th, 2018 10:30 am

    Thank you for this thoughtful article. We read it together in our 4th class- the students enjoyed it very much!

  17. Tracy Ross on December 5th, 2018 11:35 am

    Great job! What an informative article! I love the idea about miracles happening. They do every day!!

  18. Abbey Lorber on December 5th, 2018 12:42 pm

    Wonderfully written and very informative about the history and traditions of Hanukkah!

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

Navigate Left
  • Hanukah, What’s that?

    Coming Up

    Finals… they’re coming

  • Hanukah, What’s that?

    Coming Up

    Fun In The Sun: Upcoming Trips

  • Hanukah, What’s that?

    Coming Up

    What A Lovely Day

  • Hanukah, What’s that?

    Coming Up

    It’s Turkey Time! Or Is It…

  • Coming Up

    Hey Cougars, Get Ready to Howl!  / It’s Time for Halloween Howl

  • Hanukah, What’s that?


    Our Lady Is Gone!

  • Hanukah, What’s that?


    Pepsi or Coke?

  • Hanukah, What’s that?


    Would You Rather: Teleport or Fly?

  • Hanukah, What’s that?


    Chocolate or Vanilla?

  • Hanukah, What’s that?


    Too Young To Vote, Or Unfair? My Opinion.

Navigate Right
Hanukah, What’s that?