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Hanukkah Recipes and Crafts


Hanukkah (dedication) - Kislev 25 - is the celebration of the Maccabees victory in 165 BCE over ancient Greece and the rededication of the second Temple in Jerusalem. Oil was found in the temple, but it was only enough to light the Menorah for one night. Miraculously, it lit the Menorah for eight nights. To celebrate this miracle, on each of the eight nights, another candle is lit in the Hanukiah (a special Menorah with 9 candle holders) and special songs are sung. The traditional foods are fried foods such as latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts). Kids love playing the dreidel (spinning top), and parents give them Hanukkah gelt (Yiddish for money, a chocolate coin).
The dreidel, which is called Sevivon in Hebrew, is a four-sided spinning top with 4 Hebrew letters that are the acronym of the sentence Nes (miracle) Gadol (big) Haya (was) Po (here). Kids who play outside of Israel have dreidels that have the letters for the sentence Nes (miracle) Gadol (big) Haya (was) Sham (there).

Hanukkah Recipes

Potato Pancakes - Latkes

2 lb (1 kg) potatoes
1 medium onion
2 eggs
A pinch of salt
A pinch of ground pepper
Oil for frying
  1. Peel and finely grate the potatoes and the onion and mix together.
  2. Add the eggs, salt, and pepper to the mix.
  3. Make flat patties and drop into the hot oil in a pan.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and turn the patties to cook evenly and get a brown color on both sides.
  5. Take out immediately when ready and put on a paper towel to absorb the oil.
You can serve with sour cream or applesauce.

Jelly Doughnuts - Sufganiyot

Ingredients: (serves 24)
1 ounce (about 30 gr) active dry yeast
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg + 2 egg yolks
3/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups vegetable oil for deep-frying
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)
Strawberry, apricot, raspberry or any kind of jam
  1. Dissolve the yeast and 2 tablespoons of sugar in the warm water and let it stand for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Mix half the flour into a large bowl with the yeast mixture, egg yolks, salt, soft butter and the rest of the sugar. While mixing the dough add more flour gradually. Knead the dough either by hand or in a mixer until it is elastic but the dough is not too sticky. Cover and let dough rise until double in size for at least 2 hours. You can then keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
  3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll or flatten on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 2 inch (about 5 centimeter) rounds molds. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes until the dough almost double in size.
  4. In a heavy pot, heat oil until very hot and drop the doughnuts into the oil. Turn to cook on both sides when browned.
  5. Put the doughnuts a paper towel to absorb the oil.
  6. Inject jam inside the doughnut.
  7. Sprinkle the confectioners' sugar.
Kids Corner:
Let the kids decorate the Sufganiyot. They can top them with: powdered sugar, chocolate frosting, or jam. If you top with something sticky, such as jam, you can decorate easier with little candy or chocolate coins. You can use color decorating icing tubes to draw faces or write Hanukkah greetings.
Beteavon! (Hebrew for bon appétit!)
Hag Hanukkah Sameach! - Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah Kids Crafts

The Dreidel Game (usually played with chocolate coins)

Each kid spins the dreidel and calculates the points that he or she wins according to the table below. Each point is worth 1 chocolate coin.
The Hebrew letter Nun - נ - nothing happens and the next player spins
The Hebrew letter Gimel - ג - "all" - the player takes the entire chocolate coin pile
The Hebrew letter Hey - ה - "half" - the player takes half the pile, rounding up if there is an odd number
The Hebrew letter Shin - ש - "put in" - the player puts one chocolate coin in the pile
The game lasts until one person has won all the chocolate coins.

Wood Block Hanukiah

10 wood blocks
9 metal bottle caps or metal candle holders
Rectangle piece of wood for the base
Wood glue
Acrylic paint
Letter foam stickers
  1. Paint the wooden blocks. Let it dry.
  2. Glue the wooden blocks on top of the wooden base, with 4 blocks on the right, 4 blocks on the left, and 2 blocks on top of each other in the middle for the Shamash.
  3. Glue the bottle caps on top of each 8 blocks and on top of the double block Shamash.
  4. Decorate the blocks. A cool way to do it is to glue the letters H-A-N-U-K-K-A-H to spell Hanukkah on the first eight blocks of the Hanukiah and at the end draw or stick a symbol of Hanukkah such as a dreidel.
Caution: never leave the Hanukiah alone while the candles are lit. Do not let the candles burn all the way down since it can be a fire hazard because the Hanukiah is made of wood. Do not leave the Hanukiah too close to a window in the winter since the cold air from outside and the burning candle from the inside can shatter the glass.

Decorative Paper Hanukiah

9 or 10 cardboard cores of toilet paper rolls
1 cardboard core of a paper towel roll
Aluminum foil
Construction paper
Red, yellow and orange tissue paper
Scotch tape
  1. Cover 8 toilet paper rolls with aluminum foil. For the Shamash tape together 2 toilet paper rolls end to end or use one paper towel roll.
  2. Decorate the Hanukiah. You can cut the letters HANUKKAH, or different shapes such as dreidels, to decorate the toilet paper rolls.
  3. Stick different colored tissue paper inside the rolls on the top in a shape of flames. You can use different colors for each flame or put one color inside the other to simulate different colored flame in each one. You can add another flame on each night of Hanukkah, such as on the third night you will fill three candles with flames and the Shamash.
This Hanukiah is only for decoration and cannot be lit with candles.

3D Dreidel

Dreidel template (open this link and print the template)
  1. Print the Dreidel template.
  2. All the parts that are shaded with lines and are trapezoid shape, are the flaps that will be glued later.
  3. Color the template but not the flaps, since this part will be glued and if the colors are oily they will not be glued well.
  4. Cut along the black outside lines.
  5. Fold all the flaps.
  6. Glue the flap next to the ש to the part next to the נ to make a 3D dreidel shape.
  7. Glue the flaps on the sides of the triangle each to the one next to it.
  8. Cut the little square on the top of the dreidel and glue its 3 flaps to the middle of the dreidel.
  9. Cut out the handle of the dreidel and fold along the long line and the 4 little flaps. Glue the side to the further rectangle and glue the 4 little flaps to the middle of the dreidel where the little square cut out for a handle to the dreidel.
  10. Let it dry and enjoy playing. You can also hang as a decoration if you run a string through the middle of the handle.

Optical Illusion Spinning Top

Small paper plates (use a light and thin paper plate)
A straw (use a strong plastic straw, one that doesn't bend too easily)
Scotch tape
  1. Draw interesting shapes and colors on the plate such as a spiral, dots, shapes on only one half of the disc, 4 quarters with different colors, etc. Paint 1/2 inch (about 1.25 centimeter) from the middle.
  2. Make a hole in the middle of the plate. The hole should be a little tight for inserting the straw.
  3. Insert the straw and use some scotch tape to attach the plate to the straw.
You can add the spinning discs on top of an existing top through the handle, if you have a flat top.

Stained Glass Oil Lamp

Black construction paper
Colored cellophane
Scotch tape
  1. Draw an Oil Lamp on the black construction paper.
  2. Cut the inside of the different parts but leave at least 1/2 inch (about 1.25 centimeter) border of the shape.
  3. Glue different colored cellophane on the back of the black construction paper, behind the holes. Don’t forget to cut the cellophane a little bigger than the hole but not too big so it covers another hole.
  4. Make two holes at the upper corner. String a string through so you can hang it on a window or hang it with Scotch tape.
You can draw different shapes such as dreidel, Hanukiah, etc.