LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that is celebrated over eight days – commemorating the rededication of the temple. This time of year, students at this temple begin to learn and practice Hanukkah traditions.
The religious school director at Lexington’s Temple Adath Israel, Elissa Weinstein, says that Hanukkah lessons are meant to teach students to be proud of their heritage.
Weinstein says, “There’s just something very cool and special about it for us but also for these kids to feel that they are in a place where they’re the majority and everyone may be a little bit different but for the most part everybody is like them and celebrating things that they celebrate.”
Students at the temple sing holiday songs, learn Hebrew passages, make Hanukkah crafts, and get to eat traditional foods.
One of the school’s teachers and Hebrew tutors, Diane Arnson Svarlien, says, “Yeah it is important. So, yeah so I think that’s why we have the religious school to teach the traditions, to teach the Hebrew language – you know it uses a different alphabet and everything, so it takes a while to learn. And…it’s just a good way to preserve cultural identity and preserve a good message like religious freedom.”
When these kids go out into the community, they share what they’ve learned. Everything that is taught and learned here is about sharing the holiday and learning values that can be passed on.
Weinstein explains, “We’re doing the exact same thing that other people are doing. We’re taking ooparts of our history and our religion, and we are imparting it into our youth, in hopes that they can go out and be in the community and also share it with their own children and their own families when they grow up.”
These students’ traditions and loved how excited they were to share their projects and history. This year Hanukkah begins on December 18 and ends on the 26.