One Hanukkah night, let there be extra light on the table

4 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5 myths about Hanukkah.

At nightfall Sunday, Jews everywhere will begin the eight-day observance of Hanukkah by lighting candles, singing songs, showering their children with gifts and stuffing themselves with potato latkes. Even though Hanukkah’s not one of your major Jewish food holidays, attention’s always paid to latkes, the crispy potato pancakes fried in oil — that being the key ingredient honoring the small cruse of blessed oil that lit the menorah in the ancient, rebuilt temple of Jerusalem for eight nights instead of one. ( I am not discounting sufganiyot, also fried in oil, or the kugels and ricotta pancakes made as a nod to Hanukkah’s cheese connection.

Sufganiyot, the doughnuts of Hanukkah, are popping up in bakeries and stores around the Chicago area in anticipation of the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights, which begins at sundown on Sunday, Dec. 6. See recipe links below!) The holiday begins Sunday at sundown this year, and rather than make anybody wait until Dinner in Minutes pops up midweek, I thought I’d share my weekly column recipe in advance. Whether you choose the traditional raspberry filling, which can provide a deliciously tart contrast to the sweetness of the powdered sugar topping, or go with another filling like custard or caramel or chocolate, sufganiyot are terrific treats for a holiday many in the United States associate with latkes, the grated potato pancake. What I like about these latkes is that they’re light and tender, made mostly of garam masala-scented parsnips and carrots with a little dehydrated potato flakes (yes!) and egg to bind them. My dad pulls out the food processor grating disc that collects dust the rest of the year — if my grandfather had his druthers, we’d still be using the box grater — and my mom straps on an apron to fry each potato pancake to golden perfection.

Hanukkah is considered a minor Jewish holiday, and the story it commemorates — the ancient and outnumbered Maccabees who triumphed over their Hellenistic oppressors to preserve their faith — is not based in the Torah, the Hebrew Bible. Some festive eating results here, in our most-viewed Recipe Finder offerings online. (The top five most-searched holiday cookie recipes thus far, besides the two — both no-bakes — listed here, are Calissons d’Aix, Dulce de Leche Macaroons and Garibaldis.) Bonus: The mixture won’t turn gray or discolor with the same speed as a typical potato latke mixture. And there’s no denying that Hanukkah is a bigger deal in majority Christian nations because it’s celebrated near — and sometimes on — Christmas. Only one small jar of oil was found to be burnt, enough for one day, but miraculously the lamp stayed alight for eight days and Hanukkah celebrates this miracle. The word Hanukkah means ‘rededication’ and commemorates the Jews’ struggle for religious freedom when, according to legend, the leaders of a Jewish rebel army called the Maccabees rose up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt of 167 BC (BCE).

The origin of Hanukkah gelt is unclear, however coins are believed to be a symbol of the independence ancient Jews gained after their three year battle with Syria when they were able to make their own coins. Wherever you go for sufganiyot, call ahead to check on availability, and remember most bakeries will likely make the dessert only until the last day of Hanukkah, which is Monday, Dec. 14. The sense of Hanukkah’s importance is further stoked by lively decorations, beautiful menorahs, delectable feasts and even, nowadays, kitschy sweaters and tongue-in-cheek competitions. But Hanukkah is still important, and underscores one of the most significant themes in Jewish history: the struggle to practice Judaism when powerful forces seek to extinguish it.

They wanted to rededicate the desecrated temple, but could find only one container of the sacred oil they needed which had the seal of the high priest still intact. Traditionally Jews only exchanged gifts on Purim, a Jewish holiday commemorating the time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination by a young woman called Esther. However, when Christmas became more prominent in the late 19th century and the Christian holiday’s consumerism grew, the Jewish custom shifted in imitation of Christmas. The bakery is also offering a gift box of four holiday doughnuts — sufganiyot, egg nog, sugar cookie and chocolate peppermint bark — for $8.50. 68 W.

These four letters form the acronym of the phrase: “Nes gadol hayah sham,” “A great miracle happened there”; a reference to the Hanukkah miracle of the oil. This potato-and-onion pancake recipe is based on one for an Indian fritter that was made by the Mumbai-born mother of Fairfax resident Shulie Madnick. The name refers neither to size nor to neck bolts in the ingredient list, but to techniques and ideas cobbled together from several potato pancake recipes. All are festooned with a dollop of the frosting found inside; all save the caramel version are lightly dusted with powdered sugar. $1.10 each. 2919 W.

Variations abound mostly because of the eighth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the “chet,” with which the word “Hanukkah” begins in Hebrew. “Chet” doesn’t have an equivalent in English. With this recipe, you won’t miss fussing with potato or the usual amount of oil that’s used for sauteing the small pancakes to their crisp potential. These Hellenistic Jews advocated for the reformation of their own primitive belief system according to Greek values — the modernization of a faith founded in the Bronze Age. In more Northern communities, where olive oil was scarce and expensive, goose or chicken fat was often used for frying so potato pancakes (latkes), apple fritters, and other non-dairy fried foods became the norm. The Maccabees opposed their Hellenized counterparts, and according to some scholars, their revolt really began as a bitter internal fight between religious fundamentalists and reformers. “The Maccabees were fighting for the ability to observe their own laws and the ability to coerce other Jews to observe their laws,” says Albert Baumgarten, an emeritus professor of Jewish history at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. “It meant a very strong fight against the Hellenistic Jews and the establishment of what we would today call a theocratic state.” Some contemporary commentators have even deigned to call the Maccabees fanatics and zealots.

During the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, the town of Bethulia in Judea was under siege and its population on the verge of surrender due to lack of water. Today, the Maccabees are extolled for having put a hard stop, after their recapture of Jerusalem in 164 B.C., to Hellenism’s threat to swallow traditional Judaism. “Hanukkah celebrates the rescue of Judaism itself from the clutches of cultural assimilation,” Ron Wolfson, an education professor at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, writes in “Hanukkah: The Family Guide to Spiritual Celebration,” nodding to why this story speaks so deeply to modern diaspora Jews. “In our own day,” he writes, “living in a completely open society, we too must battle the forces of cultural assimilation to retain our Jewish identities.” But as rulers who subsequently established the Hasmonean dynasty, these rebels quickly realized that their survival involved playing the game of regional politics — and the way to do that was by none other than adopting Hellenism. “It was a kind of necessity,” Baumgarten says. “The Seleucid dynasty to which Antiochus and his successors belonged was split between two rival families that were fighting each other over generations, and the Maccabees had to play one branch off each other. Ah, the Jewish parents’ dilemma: They want their kids to appreciate Hanukkah, and not be jealous of friends who will be visited by Santa; but they don’t want children to equate Hanukkah only with presents.

These are delicate and can fall apart easily, so handle them gingerly. (You can smoosh them back together in the pan.) Lay 1 or 2 at a time in the potato flakes, then use your fingers to gather and sprinkle more potato flakes on top (to coat). Use a spatula to transfer 4 of them to the hot oil; cook for about 3 minutes on the first side, then use 2 spatulas to carefully turn them over and cook for about 2 minutes on the second side, until crisped and golden brown. So although the Maccabees started as opponents of Hellenism, they soon become among its most enthusiastic admirers and adopters.” This meant, for instance, aping Greek models of government and negotiation, and establishing an assembly to vote a ruler into power — a practice with no precedent in Jewish tradition.

Their realpolitik also helped them learn to “negotiate the different tensions between being part of the Jewish world and the larger world,” Baumgarten says, which was critical to Jewish survival. He debuted the fourth and most recent version of the song at the ‘Judd Apatow & Friends’ event at the New York Comedy Festival at Carnegie Hall in November. NUTRITIONAL ANALYSIS | Per serving 230 calories 5 g protein 25 g carbohydrates 13 g fat 2 g saturated fat 95 mg cholesterol 220 mg sodium 5 g fiber 6 g sugar Many fans of popular culture previously unfamiliar with the festival first became aware of Hanukkah after an episode of the popular sitcom Friends aired in December 2000.

The only outfit available is an armadillo so he creates a new holiday character called ‘The Holiday Armadillo’ – Santa’s south-of-the-border friend who teaches Ben about the importance and history of Hanukkah. After the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the Jews were expelled, and religious authority was transferred from Temple priests to diaspora rabbis, who came to codify the Babylonian Talmud as a central text of Jewish law, ethics and customs.

And they were first made with curd cheese rather than potatoes, Gil Marks writes in the “Encyclopedia of Jewish Food.” Although they are certainly a traditional holiday food, they are by no means the traditional holiday food. For centuries, as Marks details, Jewish communities around the world have celebrated with other delicacies that acknowledge the role of oil in the Hanukkah story. Greek Jews eat fried fish with ajada, an adaptation of an ancient Mediterranean sauce akin to garlic mayonnaise; they also serve fried apple rings and apple fritters. Syrian and Lebanese Jews celebrate with atayef, cheese-filled pancakes deep-fried and topped with sugary syrup or thick cream, while Sephardic Jews have traditionally feasted on ojaldre, an ancient Spanish form of puff pastry also stuffed with cheese.

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