With Gil Dekel, PhD.

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Happy Hanukkah Candles. © Gil Dekel.‎


Hanukah is the Jewish Festival of Light. Some 2000 years ago the Ancient Assyrians-Greeks came to Israel, and they saw the temple in the middle of Jerusalem. The temple didn’t look like Greek temples, as it was very modest and simple building. The Greeks thought: “Oh, a building in such a central place of Jerusalem is perfect for our parties. This can be a club for parties!” They had a good disco party there; and in the process, they used up all the oil and made a lot of mess inside.

One day, the Macabim family decided to clear up the space, so they can use the temple for special spiritual events and bring the Godly Light back into that space. They looked at the Menorah, the big candelabrum lamp that stood in the middle, and realised there was no oil left to light it up because all the oil was used up for the parties… apart of one little jar of oil which they found hidden. But there was so little oil in the jar, to last only for one day.

They poured the oil into the Menorah, and it burned beautifully a whole day. When they came back the next day, a miracle happened… the lamp light was still on. The oil that should have last for only one day was continuing to burn and glow; and light up the Menorah. And the oil held for eight days in a row! This miracle purified the temple, illuminated the space and brought magic and joy to all who saw it.

This is why we celebrate the light.

Video of the workshop:


Art activities:

(Download PDFs Templates here)

1. Play The Yoga Candle game (watch video to learn how to play).

2. Make a spinning toy, Svivon. Make-Svivon-Spinning-Toy

The Hebrew Letters on the Svivon, spinning Toy

The Hebrew Letters on the Svivon, spinning Toy

3. Make a Macabim paper puppet. Make-Paper-Puppets-Gil-Dekel

4. Dance the Macabim ‘Hora’ dance (watch the video above to learn more).

5. Make edible Chocolate Svivon (Spinning Toy).

We found cone shape sweet, and simply added chocolate sticks to it.

Chocolate Svivon spinning toy, for Hanukah.

Another option is to make it with Meringues:

Ingredients: – Mini Meringues (tub of 28, from Sainsbuey’s UK). – Chocolate ‘flutes’ (sticks). – Glitter icing colourings. – Dark Chocolate.

Method: 1. Melt dark chocolate, and coat the meringues. 2. Once cooled, gently make hole in the back, and place chocolate ‘flutes’. It may break at first, and may take a few tries before you get it right. 3. Write letters using glitter icing colourings. Edible-Chocolate-Svivon-Dreidel-Spinning-Toy-Gil-Dekel

6. Share Israeli/British chocolate coins, and donuts ‘Sufganiot’.

Chocolate coins in tray with fruits, for Hanukka.

Photo of Sufganiya (Sufganiyah, Sufganiyot) for Hanuka (Hanukkah).

7. Orange candle

You can make a candle from an orange (or a clementine). There are good websites explaining how to do so. Just search ‘orange candle’ in the search field below:


Make a candle from a clementine or an orange!

Make a candle from a clementine or an orange! (photo © Gil Dekel).


The video below presents a more ‘traditional’ view of the holiday:

Hanukkah, also spelled Chanukka, Hanukah (the Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication. Hebrew: חנוכה)

21 Dec 2013. Last updated 22 Dec 2019. © Gil and Natalie.