For pre-Hanukkah photo opps, questions, interviews and quotes, Chabad.org maintains a database of rabbis who are highly-knowledgeable about the holiday and practically any topic pertaining to Judaism.
Feel free to contact Rabbi Motti Seligson or Chaim Landa, should you like to speak to someone about any aspect of Hanukkah. (Contact information can be found on the right.)
Hanukkah Quick Facts
December 6 - 14, 2015
Miracle #1: When the Maccabees liberated the Temple from the hands of the Greek invaders, they found only a small amount of olive oil fit for fueling the Menorah. The problem was, it was sufficient to light the Menorah only for one day, and it would take eight days to produce new pure oil. They lit it anyway, and miraculously, the oil burned for eight days.
Miracle #2: Hanukkah celebrates the ancient victory of the Maccabees, a small band of Jewish fighters, against their Greek Assyrian oppressors, in their struggle for religious freedom in the Land of Israel.
In contemporary America, Hanukkah has become a time for families to celebrate together by lighting a home ‘menorah’ (candelabrum), playing ‘Dreidel’ (a Hanukkah spinning top) and sharing holiday foods, including the traditional ‘Latkes’ (shallow fried potato pancakes).
HANUKKAH OR CHANUKAH? In Hebrew, Chanukah is pronounced with the letter chet. The chet’s “ch” sound is not enunciated like the “ch” in child; rather it’s a guttural, throaty sound—like the “ch” in Johann Bach—which does not have an English equivalent. The letter “H” is the closest, but it’s not really it. So while some people spell and pronounce it “Chanukah” and others settle for “Hanukkah,” they really are one and the same.
Communities Worldwide Celebrate Year of Hakhel
This year’s Hanukkah celebrations bring added significance as Jewish communities worldwide celebrate the year of Hakhel, a once-every-seven-years opportunity to celebrate Jewish unity and learning. Throughout the year,Jewish synagogues and organizations are hosting communal gatherings for men, women and children dedicated to encouraging Jewish observance.
THE MENORAH: The menorah is a nine-branched candelabrum that holds either oil or candles. We light the menorah on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah beginning on the first night with one flame and adding an additional flame each night. The ninth flame, called the Shamash, is used to light the other flames (on Friday evening, in order to avoid violating Shabbat, the Menorah must be lit shortly before sunset, not after nightfall).
FOOD: To commemorate the miracle that occurred with oil, we eat foods fried in oil, such as latkes (fried potato pancakes) and donuts.
It is also customary to eat dairy foods during the holiday.
GIFTS: It is a tradition to give ‘Gelt’ or money gifts to children to encourage their studies.
We also play with a ‘Dreidel’ (a spinning top).
Hanukkah & America
Chabad-Lubavitch has brought Hanukkah to the public domain, emphasizing that it is a holiday celebrated by Jews outwardly.
Since 1974, thousands of public menorahs are annually erected in city centers and landmarks such as in front of The White House, the Eiffel Tower, and the Kremlin.
What to Expect at a Public Menorah Lighting near you click here.
Hanukkah Stats 2015
Chabad sponsors a host of Hanukkah awareness campaigns that this year will reach 8 million Jews globally.
For more Hanukkah stats and figures that may be helpful in your reporting, please click here.
Hanukkah.org - The Hanukkah Supersite
Hanukkah.org, the Hanukkah supersite, is the place where readers can find everything Hanukkah from information on the history and observances to holiday greeting cards and listings of local family Chanukah celebrations To visit the site go to ;www.Hanukkah.org
Hanukkah events in hundreds of cities around the world are listed in the world’s largest Hanukkah events directory. Celebrations include the menorah lighting in front of The White House, oil press workshops for children, lectures on the holiday: they span geographic locales from Alabama and Wisconsin to Abidjan and Zurich: For worldwide events, visit http://www.chabad.org/ChanukahEvents
Chabad-Lubavitch is a world-wide Jewish movement with a two century old religious philosophical system. Considered by many to be the most dynamic force in Jewish life today, the organization’s network consists of over 3,500 institutions in 86 countries directed by over 4,000 full-time emissaries and a workforce that numbers in the tens of thousands.
Dedicated to the spiritual and material welfare of the Jewish people and motivated by respect and affection for each individual, the movement has set into motion an astounding array of innovative programs, services and institutions to serve the needs of Jews everywhere.
Chabad.org is the largest Jewish faith based website with over 42 million unique visitors in 2014 and tens of thousands of articles covering all areas of Judaism. Created in the 1980’s it was one of the first pages on the Internet predating the World Wide Web, it serves as Judaism’s homepage for millions.