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Hanukah meme

Somehow I feel that I’ve been tagged by Janet for this meme, because it is public that we celebrate Hannukkah. But we really make it low-key, family-only, and have only been doing it for about a dozen years so far. Actually, this is the first time that we had guests for the first night.

1. Latkes or Sufganiyot?

Latkes. Mrs.Coturnix is a superb Latke-Meister.

2. Multi-colored candles or blue-and-white?

Coturnix Jr. lights the blue-and-white candles, Coturnietta lights the multicolored.

3. Do you place the Hanukiah by the window or away from the window?

In this house, away from the window due to fire hazards. We do have Hannukkah light-decorations in the window, including one shaped like a hanukiah, so we plug them in at night.

4. Favorite Holiday Dish?

Brisket that Mrs.Coturnix fixed this year will be remembered for years to come. I am still salivating at the thought of it.

5. Favorite Holiday Memory?

Well, we do it so low-key, there is no big memory really. It’s not a big event. We make a much bigger deal about Passover.

6. One Hanukiah or more than one?

Two this year as both kids are big enough and interested enough to light each its own.

7. Do you remember your favorite gift?

Only kids get gifts in our house.

8. Favorite Holiday Dessert?

Kugel. The way Mrs. Coturnix makes it.

9. Favorite Holiday Song?

None really. After a few years, the Hannukkah songs sound just as kitchy as Christmas songs. Ocho Kandelikas by Flory Jagoda may be my all-time favourite. ‘Fergilicious’ was this year’s hit, I’m afraid.

Comments

  1. #1 Karl
    December 20, 2006

    “Hanukiah” ?
    I thought that those eight candle holders were called menorahs. Is this different?

  2. #2 coturnix
    December 20, 2006

    Menorah just means “lamp”. Hanukia is more specific – the 8-candled lamp lit for Hanuka.

  3. #3 Karl
    December 20, 2006

    That’s funny. I grew up (ethnically) Jewish, as did my wife. Both of our families gave lip service to Hannukah and neither of us has ever heard that word. Is it from your Serbian side maybe? Or, is that maybe a Sephardic rather than Ashkenazy, word? I think in this country it is always a menorah. I will contact some relatives and friends, see if they know that word. Maybe, not being religious, I just missed it.

  4. #4 Karl
    December 20, 2006

    OK. I’m back again. I called a friend. She says that she remembers that the rabbi once told her that hanukia is the plural of menorah. That is, a menorah is an 8 branched candelabra. If you have more than one menorah, you have, not menorahs, but hanukia.
    Does that correspond to your usage?

  5. #5 revere
    December 20, 2006

    I grew up with Hannukah, too, but always considered it an ersatz xmas. Even before we got married (35 years ago) we celebrated xmas, which I consider a secular holiday. I like everything about it, including the kitsch and the commercialization. I’ll post about these heretical views on my Sunday Sermonette at Effect Measure.

    But I do appreciate the brisket and latkes and anytime Mrs. Coturnix wants to have me over I’ll be there. My wife’s theory (she’s Italian) is that the reason many religions make the religious identity of the children dependent on those of the mother is that culture is passed on through the kitchen. Seems like a good theory to me.

    I never heard of a Hanukiah, either. You can really learn something reading blogs.

  6. #6 Karl
    December 20, 2006

    Third comment.
    A little googling:

    from Wikipedia

    Ancient use
    A menorah used in the Tabernacle (the portable sanctuary used by the Jews) and later in its successor, the Temple in Jerusalem was beaten from a single piece of gold. A lamp burning olive oil was located at the end of each of the seven branches. Since the destruction of the Temple, the seven-branched menorah has had no formal role in Jewish worship. Because of the sanctity of the Temple and its appointments, some authorities forbid the manufacture of menorah resembling the one used there.[1]

    Hanukkah
    Main article: Hanukkah
    The Menorah is also a symbol closely associated with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. According to the Talmud, after the desecration of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, there was only enough sealed (and therefore not desecrated by idolatry) consecrated olive oil left to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days which was enough time to get new oil as well as finish rebuilding the Temple. Many Menorahs have not seven, but nine candle holders. The four holders on either side are to represent the eight day celebration of the miracle of oil, while the one in the middle, called the Shamash, is used to light the others. While this type of menorah is technically called a Hanukiah, the “menorah of Hanukkah” is sometimes simply called a menorah.

    And lots of others like this. I find no mention of singular/plural distinction. So, again I wonder if it is an ethnic distinction. If not sephardic vs ashkenazy, maybe Russian vs Serbian. ?

  7. #7 coturnix
    December 20, 2006

    I am no expert on the matter, but I remember hearing that ‘menora’ is almost the exclusive term used by American Jews, while Jews elsewhere use the two terms pretty much interchangeably. I am pretty sure they say Hanukia in Isarel, when referrring to the Hannukkah lamp.

  8. #8 Karl
    December 20, 2006

    So I guess then that it is cultural rather than ethnic.
    I will have to visit the rabbi and ask him where he got singular/plural.
    Thank you. I now know a new word.