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Happy Hanukkah – the Dreidel Game

December 20, 2011

Happy Hanukkah!

Tonight, at sundown, begins the 8 days of celebration called Hanukkah, for those of the Jewish faith. Our family finds ourselves connected closely with the faith, seeing our Christianity as an extension of the Jewish faith, and one way we teach our children about the Jewish faith is to participate in observances to help them embrace it.

Hanukkah (or Chanukah) is a celebration of the Festival of Lights, a symbol of rededication and miracles.

From Judaism 101:

After years of oppression by the Greek Government, two groups of Jewish people banded together to revolt against the oppression by this government (which had placed a Hellenistic priest in their temple (a non-Jew being in charge of the temple), forbid the practice of the Jewish faith, and required a pig to be sacrificed on the altar (non-kosher). (…read more HERE)

“According to tradition as recorded in the Talmud, at the time of the rededication, there was very little oil left that had not been defiled by the Greeks. Oil was needed for themenorah (candelabrum) in the Temple, which was supposed to burn throughout the night every night. There was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight day festival was declared to commemorate this miracle. Note that the holiday commemorates the miracle of the oil, not the military victory: Jews do not glorify war.”

You can read  more  here:


One of the observations of Hanukkah is the Lighting of the Menorah and readings that come with it, as well as a dreidel game for the children. A dreidel is a top with 4 sides, each side with a different Hebrew letter representing the phrase: A Miracle Happened Here.

The Dreidel Game

Using markers (chocolates, raisins, beads or use a point system if you don’t want to use actual objects), place 2 markers per player in the middle

Spin the dreidel

  • nun – do nothing
  • gimel – take everything
  • hay – take half
  • shin – put one in
When someone collects all the markers (or gets to a predetermined point level), the game has been won!


If you want to print your own Dreidel – or use one as a wrapping box this week – Heather Roselli @ Sweet Shoppe Designs has this great printable:

Here is a simple printable from Enchanted Learning .

Typical treats for Hanukkah would include Latkes, Donuts and Applesauce



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