As the story goes, it all began when a single day's supply of oil miraculously burned for eight days.
If only we knew how to make oil last that long now.
A Stanford University survey found that American Jews with young children more vigorously than Israeli Jews to preserve the traditions and significance of Hanukkah, which overlaps with the Christian holiday of Christmas.
This is particularly true in areas where there are low concentrations of Jewish people. The researchers said it is a way for parents to "provide a counterbalance for children against competing cultural influences."
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that commemorates a Judean priest's successful revolt against the Greek and Syrian armies around 165 B.C., followed by the destruction of Hellenic items that had previously inhabited it.
Modern symbols of the holiday feature a Hanukkah menorah with nine branches, each one of which represents a day of the holiday.
It is a holiday that brings families together for prayer, music, singing, games, gift-giving and traditional foods.
Spinning the dreidel and eating fried foods like , or potato pancakes, and jelly-filled donuts are traditional family and community activities in addition to lighting the menorah. Day may be added to the official list of traditions soon.
Several synagogues, temples and organizations will host Hanukkah events, although you would be hard pressed to find public Jewish celebrations in Menlo Park. Fortunately, Palo Alto is right next door.
- The Light it Up young adults party at the Hillel at Stanford hopes to gather hundreds of Bay Area young adults on Saturday, Dec. 17 for the lighting of the menorah, spinning the dreidel, drinking, eating and dancing. First 150 guests through the door receive complementary OFJCC gym guest passes! Cash bar. Price $10.
- The Festival of Lights Community Hanukkah Party at the in Palo Alto is open to everyone. It takes place on Dec. 21 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. www.paloaltojcc.org. Here, families will experience the traditional dreidel games, jelly donuts, singing, praying, and of course, candle-lighting. There is no charge for this event.
- Palo Alto's Jewish Study Network invites the community to a Hanukkah Party that includes a class on Hanukkah and afterward with jelly donuts, live music and Chinese Food. On Dec. 24 starting at 8 p.m. Adults $10, children under 10, $8.