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Chanukah, (ch as Scottish loch) Jewish "Festival of Lights", lasts 8 days and nights.  Chanukah celebrates the triumphs of ancient Jewish heroes, the communal struggle about what it means to be a Jew, tells the story of unexpected fuel found in unexpected places which provided light to an entire nation and it is the story of miracle of the triumph of light over darkness.




Nearly 2,200 years ago, the Greek-Syrian ruler, Antiochus the IV, tried to force Greek culture upon peoples in his territory. Jews were forbidden their most important religious practices . Although vastly outnumbered, Jews took up arms to protect their community and their religion.


Led by Mattitiayho the Hasmonean, and later his son Yehudah the Maccabee, the rebel armies became known as the Maccabees.


After three years of fighting, in the year 3597, the Maccabees victoriously reclaimed the temple on Jerusalem's Mount Moriah. Next they prepared the temple for rededication where they found only enough purified oil to kindle the temple light for a single day. But miraculously, the light continued to burn for eight days.



The lighting of the Chanukiya, AKA menorah (candlestand), is a Chanukah tradition.  A menorah is a 9 branches candlestand.  8 candles, one for each day, are of the same height, with a taller one in the middle, the Shamash (servant), which is used to light the others. Each evening of Chanukah, one more candle is lit.


The menorah symbolizes the burning light in the temple, as well as marking the eight days of the Chanukah festival.


A dreidel, a four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side, used to play with to gamble for chocolate coins (gelt) or some other treat or even just points, similar to using dice. The letters on the dreidel collectively represent the sentence "a great miracle happened here" .






Many traditional Chanukah foods are cooked in oil, in remembrance of the oil that burned in the temple,  such as latkes and sufganiyot ( jelly doughnut)  .


Eating dairy products, especially cheese, is another Chanukah tradition. This is done in memory of the Jewish heroine Judith,  who according to legend saved her village from Syrian attackers.  Judith fed wine and cheese to the Syrian general until he became so drunk that he fell to the ground. She then cut off his head, which she brought back to her village in a basket. The next morning, Syrian troops found the headless body of their leader and fled in terror.





Cheese Latkes


3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup cottage cheese, drained
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 Tbsps. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup oil for frying


Heat 1/2 cup oil in a skillet. Using a large spoon, drop the batter into hot oil. Fry 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Continue until batter is used up, adding oil when necessary.



Sufganiyot (Ponchkes)


2-1/2 C all-purpose flour
2 C hot milk
2 packages active dry yeast
1/4 C milk, lukewarm
6 egg yolks
2/3 C granulated sugar
1 teas vanilla
1/2 teas orange extract
zest of 1/2 orange
1/2 cup butter
oil for deep-frying
powdered sugar

Sift one cup of flour into a bowl. Whisk in the hot milk, whisk until smooth, set aside to cool. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm milk. Add to the flour-milk mixture, and set aside for 30 minutes. Mix the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffly.

Add vanilla, orange extract and zest. Add the remaining flour and the butter. Knead until smooth. Set aside and let rise until double in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Roll out on a floured board to 1/2 inch thick. Cut out rounds with a glass. Put a teaspoon of jam into the center of one round.

Cover with another round. Seal edges securely. Allow to rise again. Heat oil in a pan. Fry doughnuts a few at a tome until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.



*To test if dough is ready for rolling, place a small piece in a glass of water. If the dough floats to the top, it is ready.







Sfinj - Moroccan doughnuts rings (picture above)


1 cube instant yeast
1/2 C pre-warm orange juice
4 tabs sugar
3 1/3 C flour
grated zest from 1orange
2 eggs lightly whisked
4 1/2 tabs oil
frying oil
icing sugar


Place the yeast in a mixing bowl with 4 tabs orange juice, 1 teas of the sugar, and two tabs of flour and mix well. In a large bowl mix the rest of the flour, orange zest,  eggs, and 4 tabs oil.  Add the yeast mix, and mix well.

Gradually pour orange juice, until you get soft dough, which easily gathers into a ball. Knead the dough by hand for about 15 minutes, until it doesn't stick to your hands. Place the rest of the oil in a bowl, and roll the dough in it until it is oiled on all sides.


Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it sit for an hour and a half, in a warm place, until the dough doubles in volume. Beat the dough to flatten it, and roll it to a 1 cm. high leaf. Cut the dough into circles. Make a hole in the center of each circle, and pull from all sides to create a ring.


Place the rings on a lightly oiled baking tray, and let them sit for half an hour, for final raising.  Heat oil to medium heat and fry rings on all sides.  When golden brown, take out and lay on absorbing paper. Serve hot sprinkled with icing sugar.



Fried zucchini



Potato Kugel


1/2 C. Flour
1/2 teas baking powder
1 teasp salt
pepper to taste
6 potatoes - peeled
2 eggs
1 onion - chopped
1/4 C oil

Stir together dry ingredients and set aside. Grate potatoes into ice water to prevent discolorating. Squeeze out all liquid, add eggs and mix well. Add dry ingredients. Saute onion in oil until golden; add to batter and mix well. Pour into oiled pan. Bake in  350*F oven and cut into squares. Return to oven and bake 30 minutes longer.  






Ratzelech - Potato pancakes



Noodles Kugel


2 pack egg noodles - cooked 
4 eggs
1 teasp vanilla extract (op)
cinammon (to your taste)
3 grated apples
100 gr' butter
raisins (op)


Combine all ingredients, mix, then add to greased baking pan. Bake uncovered at 350º for 30-45 minutes.



Fried Eggplant


2 eggplants
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tabs chopped parsley

Slice eggplants, leaving the skin on. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan, and once hot, drop in eggplant and fry until brown. Place on a plate covered with paper towels to drain. Sprinkle withgarlic, salt and parsley.



Bimuelos - Sephardic fried puffs


1 yeast cake

1 C warm water

1/6 C soft butter

1/4 teas salt




2 Tabs orange juice

2 cups water

Pinch sugar

1 tab brandy


Syrup: Combine all ingredients. Simmer for 15 minutes.


Combine 1 yeast cake and 1 cup warm water until yeast puffs up to surface. Add 1/6 cup soft butter and 1/4 teas salt. Add enough flour gradually to make a soft dough. Let stand in warm place for 3 hours.

Drop by spoonful in hot oil and fry to golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper . Serve hot, dipped in
Orange syrup.






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