The month of December is generally related to the Christian celebration of Christmas. Probably because of the large population of Christians in the world, Hanukkah celebrations especially in Canada and the United States often involve Christmas traditions. Many rabbis argue that incorporating Christmas practices into the celebration of Hanukkah give many Jews confusion on why the latter is celebrated. As many Jewish families embrace modern practices in celebrating Hanukkah, it is the responsibility of parents and other elders in the community to make sure that children understand the significance of the holiday. Christmas is celebrated even in schools so as a Jewish teacher; it is our role to introduce Hanukkah to our Jewish students. How do we do this? Here’s how:
- Make sure that you know the significance of the holiday by heart. Find resources about Hanukkah. You can start finding information about the holiday in your local Jewish Community Center and synagogues. You can also talk to a rabbi for assistance.
- Look for children’s books on Hanukkah and allow your students to read this. This will also help you in introducing Hanukkah to your students.
- Teach kids to sing Hanukkah songs. Look for Hanukkah albums for kids. These albums can be bought in local stores and even online. Good choices of albums are Shine Little Candles: Chanukah Songs for Children, A Child’s Hanukkah and Chanukah at Grover’s Corner.
- Teach kids the importance of lighting the Hanukkah menorah by lighting one in your classroom. For safety purposes, I suggest using electric menorah which can be bought in local Judaica stores and Jewish online stores.
- Organize a Hanukkah feast in your classroom. Introduce Hanukkah foods like latkes and sufganiyot.
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