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The Chanukah Story

Around 175 B.C.E. the Land of Israel (in those days called Judea) came under the rule of Antiochus IV, the king of the ancient Greek-Syrians. Under Antiochus's rule, the Jewish community was not permitted to practice or study their own religion or to practice it.

Not being able to practice their religion, the community, led by Judah Maccabee began an active resistance. Judah and his followers were victorious, but when the Jews entered the Temple, they saw that it had been defiled and needed to be restored and rededicated. After restoring the Temple to its original state, the menorah (candelabrum) needed to be lit. Unfortunately, they only found enough oil to light the menorah for one night, but needed to have enough to keep it lit every night. Miraculously, according to the Talmud, the oil lasted for 8 days, enough time for them to retrieve more oil. Today, Chanukah is celebrated for 8 days in memory of that miracle!

One of the traditions of the holiday is to light the Chanukah menorah each night by adding one more candle each evening until all eight are lit. In this way, the holiday allows us to put more light into the world every night.

Katie Couric with Muppets Jesse and ElmoPhoto © Sesame StreetChanukah: The Missing Menorah is a celebration of the story and traditions of Chanukah.  After Anneliese gets caught in a game of tag and loses her special menorah, everyone works together to find it in time for the start of the holiday.

Watch different families celebrate Chanukah in their own special ways, discover the history of Chanukah, and find out how one individual can make a big difference.

A Chanukah Recipe

Baby BearBaby Bear's Special Applesauce
Chanukah is a holiday full of fun foods from Sufganiyot (jelly filled donuts) to latkes (fried potato pancakes)! Latkes are often eaten with applesauce, and you can make applesauce together with Baby Bear's Special Applesauce recipe.

Tips for Parents

  • Talking About Chanukah
  • Mother Daughter TalkingOne theme in this episode is family traditions and how different families celebrate this holiday together.  This is a good opening to share your family’s traditions with your child.  Here are some tips to help you get started:
    • Maybe you eat a certain type of food during the holidays or spend weekends with grandparents. Talk about your child’s favorite family traditions and recall interesting stories from her experience with them.
    • You might also talk about family traditions you celebrated as a child, and whether or not any of those have been carried down through generations.
    • Ask your child how these traditions are the same or different from other families’ or friends’ traditions.
    • Even if you do not celebrate Chanukah, you can connect your family traditions to the traditions shown in the episode.
    • Share the story of a favorite family recipe while you’re preparing it. How did you learn to make it? Was it made for special occasions? Why is it a favorite? Do you know any other families that make this dish too? As you share stories and talk together, allow your child to help measure and mix the ingredients, and serve the finished dish.
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