Happy Chanukah! As you take in the glowing lights on the Menorah this year, please check out our go-to guide for all things Chanukah – history, games, songs, and prayers. Scroll down for printable a PDF of “The JFL Dreidel Game”, candle blessings, and Chanukah songs. You can even make a tribute to your loved ones as a Chanukah present by clicking the button at the bottom of the page.
The Miracle of Chanukah
Do you know the story of Chanukah?
Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, is one of the most adored Jewish holidays for many reasons; fried food, Sufganiyot, presents, and Dreidel! While the holiday is fun, the meaning behind it is quite significant. During the year 168 B.C.E. King Antiochus Epiphanes of Syria sent soldiers to take the Holy Temple of Jerusalem and force the Jews to worship the Greek gods. Practicing Judaism became illegal. A group of Jews who created a resistance movement, led by Judah Maccabee, fought to take back the temple. Though outnumbered, the Maccabees defeated the Syrian army and reclaimed the Holy Temple.
The first thing the Maccabees did to start rededicating and purifying the temple was light the eternal flame. Each jar of oil lit the flame for one day, and the Maccabees only had one jar. The journey to get more oil would take 8 days, meaning the eternal flame would likely become extinguished. By the time the Maccabees returned with more oil, the eternal flame was still ablaze, creating a true miracle! Therefore, Chanukah was created as an 8-day festival and the 9-stem menorah (8 regular stems and one Shamash or “helper” candle) was introduced.
What does this mean for modern day Jews? We eat fried potato pancakes (latkes) and spin a dreidel to win gelt. However, there is a deeper meaning we can connect to the holiday. The oil lasting 8 days allowed the Jewish people to get back on their feet and rededicate and purify the Holy Temple. At Jewish Free Loan, we understand the importance of help in order to get you on your feet. You can’t “rebuild your temple” when you don’t have the resources. This is why our mission is to provide interest-free loans to Jewish Arizonans.
In the past six months we have distributed over $360,000 in interest-free loans to more than 60 households in Arizona’s Jewish community. Without the burden of interest and with an individualized repayment schedule, our loans can be used as the oil was; to stay afloat and alleviate stress. Interest-free loans are available in a variety of categories, including but not limited to, education, Jewish life cycle events, medical, business, and emergency loans. Whether something unexpected has come up or you just need extra help, JFL wants to give you the resources to last eight days (and beyond) so you can shine to your fullest potential.
The JFL Dreidel Game- Let’s Spin it Up!
Have you ever anxiously watched your spinning dreidel toggle and slowly tip over revealing the fate of your precious chocolate gelt? Well, you wouldn’t be alone. This common Chanukah game has been played by Jews for centuries. It was created by Jews who secretly used the game to study Torah during a time when it was illegal under the Greek empire.
Today, dreidel can be a fun way to spend time with friends and family during the Chanukah season, but it can also be a great opportunity to educate your children about philanthropy and promote a discussion far more valuable than gelt (even the bigger pieces!).
JFL’s unique dreidel game was created to help lead a discussion about philanthropy and the importance of mitzvot and tzedakah. Depending on which letter you land on, questions inspired by JFL’s mission are provided to prompt the discussion.
Click the link below to download and print the instructions for this special game.
Give the Gift of Song
Chanukah celebrations wouldn’t be complete without cheerful songs. We have included links to Chanukah songs to sing with friends and family.
Light the Menorah
Download your Chanukah Blessings Sheet by clicking the button below.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר חֲנֻכָּה
Bah-rookh ah-tah ah-doh-noi eh-loh-hay-noo meh-lekh hah-oh-lahm ah-sher ki-deh-shah-noo beh-mitz-voh-tahv veh-tzee-vah-noo leh-hahd-lik nayr kha-noo-kah
Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁעָשָׂה נִסִּים לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בִּזְּמַן הַזֶּה
Bah-rookh ah-tah ah-doh-noi eh-loh-hay-noo meh-lekh hah-oh-lahm sheh-ah-sah nee-sim lah-ah-voh-tay-noo bah-yah-mim hah-haym biz-mahn hah-zeh
Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.
Third Blesing (first night only)
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לִזְּמַן הַזֶּה
Bah-rookh ah-tah ah-doh-noi eh-loh-hay-noo meh-lekh hah-oh-lahm sheh-heh-kheh-yah-noo veh-kee-mah-noo ve-hig-ee-yah-noo liz-mahn hah-zeh
Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.
Say it with a Tribute
This Chanukah you can be the Shamash candle, the candle that lights all the other candles, for Arizona’s Jewish community by gifting a tribute card to your loved ones. A tribute card is an easy and meaningful gift to give this Chanukah. Click the button below to make a tribute today!