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Jewish Journal

Why we celebrate Chanukah—according to YOU!

by Shoshana Lewin-Fischer

November 23, 2006 | 7:00 pm

Why We Celebrate Chanukah ... According to ______________________ (YOUR NAME)

Around 200 B.C.E. Jews lived in the Land of Israel, which was ______________ (verb) by the king of Syria. In 175 B.C.E. Antiochus IV Epiphanes became ______________ ( noun). At first, everything was ____________ (adjective), but soon, the Jews were told they would have to stop being Jewish. Rather than doing that, they decided to _____________ ( verb). Under Antiochus, Jews were killed and the temple was ___________ ( verb ending in 'ed'). Antiochus wanted to use the Temple as a place to ____________ ( verb) the Greek _________ ( noun) Zeus. Mattathias, a Jewish priest, and his sons, including Judah Maccabee, said no way and ____________ (verb) back. When Mattathias died, Judah took his place as leader. Later, after the Jews ___________ (verb in past tense) the battle, the Temple was rededicated. Judah ordered the Temple to be ____________ ( verb) and a new altar to be __________ (verb). According to the Talmud, __________ ( noun) was needed for the menorah, which was supposed to burn all the time. But there was only enough to burn for one night. Miraculously, it burned for eight. And THAT'S why we celebrate the _____________ ( noun) of Chanukah!

Kein vs. Lo

This section of the page is a way for you as kids to sound off about an issue. Because right after Thanksgiving, people start putting up their decorations for the holidays (you'll usually see more red and green than blue and white). This month's kein v'lo is about putting up Chanukah decorations and asks whether we, as Jews, should decorate our homes for the holiday.

The Kein Side:

  • There's nothing wrong with decorating for the holiday. We're not talking about having a "Chanukah bush," but putting up Chanukah signs and banners -- and even lights -- doesn't take anything away from the meaning of the holiday. It isn't the same as when Christians decorate for Xmas.
  • We, as Jews, should take pride in our culture and heritage. By decorating our homes, we are showing our neighbors that we enjoy the holiday -- and maybe it will encourage them to come and ask questions about it.

The Lo Side:

  • Decorating for Chanukah is too much like decorating for Xmas. The menorah in the window is decoration enough.
  • Chanukah is such a minor holiday on the Jewish calendar that it shouldn't be treated like a "Jewish Xmas." Decorating the house may make some non-Jews think that Chanukah is a bigger deal than it really is.

    Discuss your opinions in your classroom or around your dining table with your family. We aren't saying which is right and which is wrong. We want to know what you think. Send your thoughts to Kids@jewishjournal.com with Kein v'Lo in the subject line.

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