From the food to the broader cultural impacts, associations far and wide are making efforts to highlight the multi-night Jewish holiday this season.
The Festival of Lights is underway this week, and as they do with so many other holidays, associations are making efforts to reflect on Hanukkah in their own way.
The National Confectioners Association, for one, prominently discusses the holiday on its website, highlighting the way that candy has come to help define Hanukkah—thanks to the traditional dreidel game, which is often played for chocolates.
The Association of Jewish Libraries, meanwhile, offers up a list of Hanukkah-themed books for children, partly pulled from its lists of nominees for the Sydney Taylor Book Award, its prize for Judaic children’s books that has been handed out for the past half-century.
Religious groups, of course, are also heavily focused on the holiday. The JWB Jewish Chaplains Council, which represents military chaplains and Jewish service members, offers a basic guide to the holiday that breaks down the basic customs of Hanukkah—including the foods.
Speaking of food, the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington has helped boost its local outreach and engagement in recent years through a site called the Jewish Food Experience, which is full of content related to Jewish food in general. While many of the pieces target the local region around DC, the pieces are written in a way that those who aren’t local won’t feel lost. To give you an idea, one recent article is titled “Rooted in History: Potatoes and Chanukah”; another is called “A Chanukah Miracle That Isn’t Deep-Fried.”
Thinking more globally, the American Jewish World Service, a human rights organization that aims to highlight issues of global justice, offers a variety of readings on social justice issues intended to be spoken during one of the eight nights of Hanukkah ceremonies.
“We invite you to dedicate one night of Chanukah to the millions of people across the world struggling to live with freedom, dignity and justice,” the association suggests in one such reading [PDF]. “Remembering our own experiences of persecution—throughout history and today—we stand in solidarity with those who share our yearning for a more just and equitable world. Together we will shine a light for those finding their way through darkness.”