Hanukkah Songs

Today there are many beautiful Hanukkah songs and many that are, well, less beautiful—we’ll leave it to you to decide which belong in which category…

The Vienna Jewish Choir singing an arrangement of the traditional Ashkenazi Ma’oz Tzur accompanied on the piano by Roman Grinberg.

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Hanukkah and Design

There are not many requirements for a hanukkah lamp. The basic elements are eight candle (or oil) holders arranged in a straight line. The ninth branch (called the “shamash” or “servant”) is used to light the others. The rest is up to the designer …

New York, New York

Hanukkah lamp New York City Skyline Memorial Menorah, designed by Shepsil Scheinberg; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe

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The Hanukkah Game

The dreidel (also dreidl, dreidle, dreydel, and draydel; sevivon in Hebrew) is a spinning top used to play the traditional dreidel game during Hanukkah.

Black-and-white photograph showing two boys and a girl playing dreidel at a table. A Hanukkah menorah stands on the table with all of the candles lit.

The photograph Kinder beim Trendelspiel (“Children Playing Dreidel”) was taken by Herbert Sonnenfeld in 1934 in Berlin; Jewish Museum Berlin


The four sides of the top, which is shaped like a die, bear the Hebrew letters nun, gimel, hay, and shin (or peh). These are the first letters of the words in the sentence “Nes gadol hayah sham” (or “Nes gadol hayah poh”), which means “A great miracle happened there” or “A great miracle happened here”—depending on whether the game is played in the Diaspora or in Israel.  continue reading