Reflection on Hanukkah (Chanukah) by Ariel Grossman

This reflection written by Ariel Grossman originally appeared in the Superintendent’s Update by Superintendent Cliff Chuang on Friday, Dec. 8. Please find this week’s full issue of Superintendent’s Update and back issues at

Ariel Grossman is a student at Bedford High School. Ariel is a junior in the Class of 2025.

Hanukkah, the festival of light, is celebrated by Jewish people around the world every year.

You might have heard of Jewish families having a Hanukkah bush instead of a Christmas tree, or a Mensch on the Bench instead of an Elf of the Shelf, but these customs are not traditional of the holiday and have only emerged in the last few years. The main tradition that occurs every night during Hanukkah is the lighting of the menorah. The menorah is a candelabra that has nine candle spots; one for each night, plus one for the ‘head’ candle, called the shamash. During the eight nights of Hanukkah, we say specific blessings and light the menorah.

Many families also play dreidel (a game with a spinning top) and eat gelt (chocolate coins) during the holiday. The two main foods are latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts). Continuing these traditions with my family is my favorite part of Hanukkah! We have a family party every year and I love celebrating the holiday together and teaching all of my younger cousins about our customs. When I was younger, I also remember singing and loving the songs such as “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” and “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah.” Although we usually get gifts during the holiday (something that only started because of Christmas), the true fun in the holiday is the memories of games and delicious food that I have with my family.

A specific Hanukkah memory I have is when my parents surprised us with a cruise. My brother and I did a crossword puzzle that revealed we were going on a cruise to the Bahamas and we were so excited! My brother and I also love getting to light the menorah and fight over who gets to do it each night. Overall, Hanukkah celebrates perseverance, bravery, and finding the light within the dark, and it’s one of my favorite weeks of the year!

Read more about Hanukkah (Chanukah) here.

Upcoming events from the Superintendent’s Update:

December 7 – December 15, 2023: Hanukkah (Chanukah)
December 18, 2023: International Migrants Day
December 19, 2023: School Committee Meeting
December 22, 2023: Last Day of School for Winter Vacation
December 25 2023 – January 1, 2024: Winter Break – No School
December 25, 2023: Christmas
December 26, 2023 – January 1, 2024: Kwanzaa
January 2, 2024: School back in Session

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