We are now in the throes of Chanukah.
Interesting that no one uses the word “throes” anymore. In fact, a lot of people probably don’t know what it means. OR, they think I spelled it wrong. So sad. Literacy is spiraling down the tubes.
Anyway, Chanukah is eight days long and we are currently enjoying the sixth day.
It started last evening (the sixth day did, not the holiday in general). My husband and I hosted a couples Chanukah party in our home for the second year in a row now. We’ve decided we really want to make it a lasting tradition. Last year, we did an olive oil tasting, because oil is a very traditional part of Chanukah. Chanukah is eight days long to commemorate the fact that the special oil in the Temple lasted for eight days, instead of the one it should have, totally miraculously. If you’ve ever wondered what’s with the doughnuts and latkes, that’s what. It’s all about the oil, so people seize the opportunity to fry foods. Joshua says that’s really only in America; in Israel, only the Americanized places and tourist traps serve latkes during Chanukah. The rest of the country is too smart to eat eight days of fried food.
This year, we did a cheesecake tasting! Cheese is a traditional part of Chanukah because of the story of Judith. The legend goes that Judith, a beautiful woman, went straight into the jaws of the bad guys’ camp and sat down and partied with the commander (Holofernes). She had him eating a lot of cheese and drinking a lot of wine, until he finally passed out, and she cut off his head. This effectively took care of that army, and brought new life and courage to the Jewish people holed up in her city. So we eat cheese to remember her. The most common way (probably due to the sugar content) is via cheesecake. No argument there.
I have no idea what we’ll do next year. I don’t want to be standing over the stove making latkes or doughnuts…we’ll see.
The party was a smashing success. We had eight couples, plus ourselves, ranging in age from early twenties to late sixties. I love bringing eclectic groups together. We played an icebreaker in which it came out that one of the most conservative women in our congregation has toilet-papered a house in her youth. (!)
Looking forward to the last Chanukah party (tonight) and the last night of Chanukah (tomorrow night), which I will be spending with my husband, and my husband only. After the whirlwind of Thanksgiving and his brother’s bar mitzvah last week, we are ready to kick back and be done with social activity for a while. Happy Chanukah – let your light shine! 😉