Kupjack Georgian Dining Room
Decorated for Hanukkah during a Wee Winter Wonderland as part of Holidays Around the World and Through Time.
Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, is an eight day celebration commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BC after it was desecrated by the forces of the King of Syria. In particular, it commemorates the “miracle of the container of oil.” According to the Talmud (central Jewish text) there was only enough olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Holy Temple for one day, miraculously it burned for eight days which was just enough time to prepare and consecrate fresh olive oil.
In the Kupjack Georgian Dining Room you will find the Hanukkah menorah, a symbol of the miracle of the oil, in its proper location, placed in the window* so that those passing by will see the light and be reminded of the miracle. The menorah has nine branches. One branch is typically above, below or to the side of the rest; this branch holds the shamash candle which is an extra light used to light the other candles. Each night at sundown, one candle is lit so that by the end of eight days all the candles are aglow. The lights of the menorah should be lit for at least half an hour. After lighting the Hanukkah menorah it is customary to sing various Hanukkah songs and to play the dreidel game.
Look for dreidels and gelt on the side table. A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top with Hebrew letters imprinted on each side. The letters stand for the Hebrew words Nes Gadol Haya Sham, which translates to "A great miracle happened there”, a reference to the miracle of the oil. Children spin the top and may win Hanukkah gelt (Yiddish for money). Gelt is often distributed to children on the holiday. Most families also exchange gifts. The table is laid out with food for the holiday meal. Central to the meal is food fried in oil. Latkes (Yiddish for potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (a doughnut) are typically holiday staples.
*The Hanukkah menorah may also be located near the door leading to the street.