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Why Do We Celebrate Hanukkah?Three of my grandparents were Jewish. My maternal grandmother is not, which makes me non-Jewish according to Judaism laws. All three of my Jewish grandparents were passionate atheists and active Communists. They didn’t believe in the God of Hebrews, but they were all very proud of their heritage. I remember when my grandmother was pointing out the names of famous people who were or “might have been” Jewish. It seemed strange to me then, but it doesn’t seem strange now. She was proud to belong to the group of people who suffered so much and still made such a gigantic impact on the world – inventing new technology, creating brilliant art, making beautiful music. I want this pride and awareness to pass to the next generation, and that’s why we celebrate some Jewish holidays – Hanukkah and Passover. My German husband is absolutely on board with this desire for our daughter to know that she is an American child, but she is also part of Germany (she has dual citizenship), and she has Russian and Jewish heritage as well.
A Hanukkah Book for Young PreschoolersMy First Chanukah by Tomie dePaola is a great book to introduce children from any culture and religion to the Jewish Holiday of Lights. The book is short and perfect for wiggly toddlers and young preschoolers, with bright illustrations. The story doesn’t say much as to why Hanukkah (Chanukah is an alternative older spelling) is celebrated, but focuses instead on family rituals of lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, and eating potato latkes with applesauce. This sums up our Hanukkah celebrations perfectly, but this year we also added a special Hanukkah craft.
Star of David Craft for Preschoolers
Our Hanukkah project was making a Star of David out of craft sticks. I had to take over gluing, since wood glue was needed to hold the pieces together. Smarty decorated our star of David with blue and white sequins which I bought on sale at Michael’s. Conveniently, they had sticky backs, so she didn’t have to bother with glue, which she doesn’t like at the moment. She was pretty intent and deliberate on placing sequins on her star, but then she got silly and was decorating her fingers instead.
Smarty was extremely pleased with the result – it was one of her most favorite projects this December. I noticed that she is more interested in 3D projects in general – projects that she can play with. She is not a huge fan of cut-and-glue or painting projects. She insisted to put the Star in her room, so it can be always with me and I can look at it when I am asleep. And she was very excited yesterday about lighting the candle and getting chocolate gelt. The best part of Hanukkah? There is 7 more days of it!
More Multicultural Holidays?From my blog:
- Hanukkah for older children
- Passover craft - Elijah's Cup
- Celebrating Holidays Around the World
- Rosh Hashanah
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