OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — While many families around the metro are getting ready to celebrate Christmas, Jewish families are already lighting the lights for the third night of Hanukkah.
Children at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City learned more about the holiday Tuesday and what it means to them.
“It means spending time with family, eating latkes, and delicious stuff,” 9-year-old Dahlia Feinberg said.
“Most people think it’s like a really important holiday, in religious terms it’s actually one of the most minor holidays ever, but everyone loves it because kids get presents,” 10-year-old Abigail Kaye said.
Traditionally, the most important holidays in the Jewish religion are Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the beginning of the Jewish calendar, and Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.
The kids learned about the holiday through a number of activities focused on tradition.
“We’re doing lots of Hanukkah activities. They did the dreidels. They made sufganiyot, our own version of the powdered donuts that the Jewish eat over Hanukkah,” director of camps and school age programs, DD Gass said. “They also made menorahs.”
The celebration of Hanukkah is about the Maccabean Revolt and the survival of the Jewish people. Abigail explains it best.
“We’re celebrating three different miracles,” Kaye said. “The miracle that a very weak army won against a great big army. The miracle that they found oil that they were able to use, because all the oil had been destroyed, and the other miracle is that it lasted for eight days and eight nights which was the exact amount of time it took oil that you could use back to the temple.”
During those eight days the kids will not only light the lights, but spend time with people they love.
“We like them to have fun, but we also hope it becomes a meaningful time for them,” Gass said. “That they think about what others do. We always talk about the values, the jewish values that we instill in kids. The being kind to each other. It’s beyond just the presents, but it’s a good time for us to stop and think about what this holiday means.
“It makes me happy, and it’s fun,” Feinberg said. “We turn all the lights out and that’s the only thing that’s shining and it looks really pretty.”
“It really is mostly about spending time with your family, and remembering that God is there to help us,” Kaye said.