Chavurah means Fellowship!

Beit Chavurah of Lake County
Shabbat Services: Lower Lake United Methodist Church, 16255-2nd St., Lower Lake
Mail: PO Box 4388, Clearlake, CA 95422 · e-mail:

How to Celebrate Chanukah

    To commemorate the miracle of the eight days, we light the candles on each night of Chanukah;  the special menorah for Chanukah has places for eight candles, along with a ninth that is usually set apart.  This extra one is for the Shamash candle, which is kindled first, and then used to light the others.  Each night, one candle is lit, with appropriate blessings (see “Chanukah Blessings” on main page.), until all eight shine together as the holiday ends.

    Chanukah is a time for parties, with food, singing songs, and playing “dreidel.”  The dreidel is a top with four sides, each inscribed with a Hebrew letter.  (see “How to Play Dreidel.”)  Players start with a stack of tokens... today, Chanukah gelt is popular (chocolate “coins” wrapped in embossed gold foil).  With each spin, players win or lose tokens, depending upon which letter is face up.

    Legend holds that the resistance fighters used this game as a cover for their meetings.   They would gather around the dreidel and pretend to play if a soldier came within earshot.

    Of course, every Jewish holiday has its special foods.  For Chanukah, dairy is popular and latkes (potato pancakes)– served with sour cream and applesauce– are a must!  The potatoes have no special significance;  it is the frying oil which recalls the Ner Tamid and the miracle of its light.

    Chanukah is joyous, but not frivolous.  In the end, it's about light and about freedom– in other words, it's about universal values expressed in a uniquely Jewish way.

Last Updated:    Sun., Oct. 17, 2021