I am a single mother, and I wanted to ensure my children carried with them some Jewish Hanukkah traditions. We start with the gift-giving of gelts. For those that are not familiar with gelts, they are gold-colored coins that have a menorah on them. These are given to the children so we can later follow through with our main tradition with the playing of the dreidel game. The gelts we give are generally chocolate candies wrapped in gold foil to look like coins.
We play the dreidel game as a family. The dreidel is made up of four words — “Nin, Hey, Peh and Grimmel.” These words stand for “A great miracle happened here.” To begin this game, which can be played with two to four players, each player starts a handful of gelts, while the rest will sit in the middle as the pot. We split them equally half to each person half to the pot. Each player then takes a turn spinning the dreidel, which closely resembles a kid’s toy top. The way it works is each side has a meaning:
Hey: The spinner wins half the gelts in the pot
Gimel: The spinner wins all the gelts in the pot
Nun: The spinner loses their turn and the dreidel is passed to the next player
Peh: the spinner loses all of their gelts
The game is played until one winner has won all the gelts from each player and the pot of gelts.
Of course are traditions are also peppered with good traditional foods and spending time with our loved ones. Of course one of our favorites is the Cheese Blintzes with sour cream. As you may or may not know consuming dairy products are very important tradition, because of this it’s important to ensure we have plenty of dairy products. This tradition while believed to be fictitious because of the historical discrepancies deals with the mission Judith and how he beheaded Holoferness first, by way of giving him cheesecakes and ton’s of wine. When he become drunk is when the task was done and his head returned to Bethulia. The Jew’s then attacked and was able to defeat the Assyrians, making dairy a now important tradition of Hanukkah.