Making memories and lighting the menorah


Alexandrea Porrino, Sports Editor

Driving at night, passing houses, Naomi Raz looks out the car window; lights on houses shine bright, ornaments decorate trees, wreaths hang on front doors, and don’t forget the huge inflatable Santa in the front lawn waving as she passes by. Red and green fill the street with Christmas cheer. But does she see any blue and white? Any inflatable menorahs or latkes? 

Hanukkah is a special holiday because it celebrates two miracles that happened to the Jewish people. In the first miracle a small group of the Maccabees, fought against the persecution of Jews by the Greeks and won a battle even though they were greatly outnumbered. 

After the fight the Jews needed oil to light up the menorah in the temple. They were able to retrieve enough oil for one night. In the second miracle, the oil ended up lasting eight nights instead.

Hanukkah is commonly referred to as the holiday of lights. Jews all around the world light the menorah for eight nights to symbolize the miracle that happened thousands of years ago. 

“Hanukkah means to me, a celebration of hope and unity. The Jews have been persecuted for thousands of years, and yet we’re still here to this day,” Raz said. 

Although Raz doesn’t decorate the exterior of her home for Hanukkah, there are many other traditions she participates in. One common tradition that she partakes in is eating foods fried in oil such as donuts and latkes, which are potato pancakes.

“Each year my family goes over to my grandparents house to celebrate Hanukkah. We light the menorah, play with dreidels and eat fried food like latkes and sufganiyot,” Raz said. Her family takes canned biscuit dough and fries it to make sufganiyot. 

Although it was not originally tradition to give presents during Hanukkah, it has become a popular tradition many families including Raz’s participate in, giving eight presents, one for each night. Raz says her favorite gift was a freestyle shark watch. 

“I love giving and receiving gifts and spending time with my family,” Raz said.