Kislev: Chanukah

Kislev 5777 – December 2016

Kislev: Chanukah


For Kislev we offer you a brand new podcast, “Chanukah: The Tofu of Jewish Holidays – the multiple meanings of the festival” by Rabbi David Levin-Kruss, with suggestions for how to use the ideas in your work.

We have also chosen some of the best online materials about Chanukah including: how to light candles, the historical background and meaning, the best Chanukah songs for kids and adults, and some articles that offer contemporary interpretations of Chanukah that are relevant for us today. Please see these resources below “how to use the podcast”.   

We’d love to hear from you about how you use these resources and what other materials or support you need in your work. Be in touch with us at

(Picture credit: Jewish the source for everything Jewish)

New Yesod Podcast: “Chanukah: The Tofu of Jewish Holidays”

This month our resources focus on the holiday festival of Chanukah, that time of year when our candles light the dark winter nights and we celebrate the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days. Or maybe not…

It turns out that Chanukah is more complicated than that and the miracle of the oil is just one way to look at the festival. In this month’s Yesod podcast, Rabbi David Levin-Kruss argues that the food that reflects the meaning of Chanukah best is not the latke or even the doughnut but … tofu! Yes, tofu. Just like tofu absorbs the flavours it is cooked in, so Chanukah absorbs multiple meanings and has been understood in many ways in our tradition.

In just 15 minutes, our engaging podcast will illuminate the different ways our tradition understands the meaning of Chanukah. Download the accompanying source sheet to follow the sources mentioned.

download podcast download Source Sheet


How to Use the Podcast

Simply listen and enjoy some new insights into the meaning of Chanukah!


With your team/colleagues:

Dedicate a staff meeting to some learning about Chanukah. Bring source sheets and listen together to the podcast.

Discuss the following questions afterwards:


With teenagers/young adults:

Expose people to the complexity and multiple meanings of the holiday.

o G-d’s role – where is G-d and how (or if) is  G–d involved?

o The war – what role does the war play and who is fighting who?

o The miracle – what is the miracle?

o Purity – who and what is pure and with what purpose?


Selected Resources: Kislev


Chanukah: General Background and How to
Historical background and information

How to Light the candles (including blessings)


Chanukah: Songs and materials for children and families

Traditional Chanukah songs 

Modern Chanukah songs

Chanukah activities based on primary materials from the National Library of Israel

“Lights” – an award-winning animated movie about the meaning of Chanukkah


Chanukah: Multiple Meanings and Relevance Today

Chanukah and national freedom – Natan Sharansky and the lessons of Chanukah

Chanukah and religious freedom

Chanukah and personal re-dedication

Chanukah and religious fundamentalism

Chanukah and Christmas – how do we relate? has lots of resources that highlight the “December Dilemma” ­as well as teach about Chanukah customs and its meaning