Happy Hanukah!

The best part of Hanukah when you’re 3-years old? The presents. Tonight Charlotte got her very own guitar! I think she would have slept with it if we’d let her.

Or is it Chanukah? Or Hanukkah? Does it really matter?
A Hanukah Story to share with you:
Every month Charlotte’s teacher, Celine, works with a theme. This month the theme has been “the holidays” which has mostly meant Christmas. The children have made a lot of Christmas trees–CĂ©line uses the “art” projects to teach basic math skills like matching and patterns, and to work on fine motor skills (like putting small items in glue to decorate). Since it is a French school, the teaching of the holidays is “secular.” That is, they learn about Santa and reindeer, but not about the religious meaning of the holiday. Still, I was getting a bit overwhelmed by talk of Christmas tree projects and by seeing nothing but said trees, ornaments, and the like hanging in the hallways.
So, Friday was the last day of school before break. Charlotte climbed into the car and immediately pulled out of her backpack a bag of Hanukah gelt!!! (The chocolate kind.) She proceeded to explain that her teachers had given everyone a bag of gelt and had talked about Hanukah in class. They played with a dreidel and everyone put a candle in a menorah.
I cannot begin to express how touched I was.
This weekend Charlotte made a menorah. I sometimes feel that she gets cheated out of some Jewish holiday learning because she doesn’t go to Jewish pre-school. So, when I saw a homemade menorah at our temple Hanukah party, I got inspired. Charlotte did everything except hot-gluing the nuts and bolts. Check it out:

Happy Hanukah!!

Or is it Hanukkah? Or Chanukah?
And while we’re on the subject, do you pronounce latke laht-kuh or laht-key?
These are the age-old questions of the holiday!

And, in case you were wondering, when Charlotte woke up on Tuesday, she was more excited that it was mommy’s birthday (was it tacky of me to mention that?) than that Hanukah was about to begin. Of course, once she opened her present, that was all over! The KidKraft Menorah had to sit on the windowsill during her bath and then on her bookshelf when we put her to bed. The minute she came downstairs this morning, she declared “Mommy brought Charlotte’s Hanukah downstairs! Charlotte play with that?”
Josh Malina was recently quoted in People magazine discussing his family’s Hanukah celebration:

Hanukkah celebrates a time when Jews weren’t allowed to observe their religion,
but they still did. It’s about being proud of who you are. I feel power in the
fact that when I’m lighting Hanukkah candles, Jews all around the world are
doing the same thing. We feel the same way.

In that spirit, I leave you all with my best wishes for a wonderful Hanukah and with the words of Debbie Friedman, “Be gracious to the ones I love and bless them with goodness and mercy and peace.”