Miracle happens in Jerusalem!

by David, Daedalus, Elias and Erin.

A small drop of oil in the newly-liberated Temple in Jerusalem has burned for eight days, say the priests.

“When we entered the Temple we discovered that it had been ransacked, and everything had been stolen or broken,” says David the Maccabee in an exclusive interview with The Jewish Center’s blog. David is one of the leaders of the Jewish rebels who defeated the Syrian occupiers. ‘We were horrified to discover that there was virtually no oil left in the Ner Tamid (Eternal Light), so we had to send a messenger to get some more oil,” adds Erin, his sister.

The Maccabees immediately ordered a portion of refill oil, but there was no stock to be found anywhere. “While we were waiting for the new oil to be made and delivered, we were cleaning and repairing the very messy Temple.,” says Daedalus, a fellow Jewish rebel. “The oil kept burning, but we were so afraid that it wasn’t going to last. Then suddenly, FedEx arrived with a fresh supply, and we realized that the oil had already lasted for eight days!”

Daedalus the Maccabee delivered the oil with such gusto and excitement only to realize it wasn’t needed after all. Elias the Maccabee refilled the lamp and everything was good. It was a miracle!

A Confused Hanukkah – a book review by Daedalus, David, Elias and Erin

The story, The Confused Hanukkah, which is written by Jon Koons and illustrated by S.D. Schindler, is about the villagers of Chelm, a village known for its foolish inhabitants. One day the Rabbi of Chelm goes away on a trip, and the villagers realize that they don’t remember how to celebrate Hanukkah! So they decide to send one of the villagers, Yossel, to a neighboring town to ask them for advice.



However, Yossel and his horse set off in the wrong direction, and end up in a town that celebrates Christmas. So Yossel receives misinformation, and confuses the people of his town when he returns home. Fortunately, the Rabbi of Chelm comes back just in time to correct their mistakes. And the villagers have their best Hanukkah ever.


What is your favorite Hanukkah book? Share with us in the ‘Comments’ box. 

Latke recipes: read ours, and then please add your own! (use the comment box).


Photo: Epicurious.com

Here’s Robert’s recipe for sweet potato latkes (with thanks to Epicuriuos.com): 


1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated

2 scallions, finely chopped

1/3 cup all purpose flour

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper


1. Stir together potatoes, scallions, flour, eggs, salt, and pepper.

2. Heat oil in a deep 12 inch non-stick skillet over moderately high heat until hot (but not smoking).

3. Working in batches of four, spoon 1/8 cup potato mixture per take into oil and flatten to 3 inch diameter with a slotted spatula.

4. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until golden – about 1 1/2 minutes on each side.

5. Transfer latkes with spatula to paper towels to drain.



Curried Eggplant Latkes
Source: Adapted from Tara Deshpande Tennebaum, December 21, 2005 Boston Globe 
Yield: 12

2 medium Italian eggplants
1/2 cup olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 peppercorns
1/2 stick cinnamon
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 1″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
6 eggs
Salt, to taste
Half a challah (about 1/2 pound), made into bread crumbs
Extra olive oil (for frying)

Holding the eggplants with tongs, turn them over a gas flame for 8 to 12 minutes or until the skin burns and the eggplants are tender. Or, cook eggplants on a hot grill, turning often, for 8 minutes or until charred and tender.

Let the eggplants cool completely. Discard the stems, peel off the skin, and mash the flesh with a fork.

In a small saucepan, heat the oil. When it is hot, cook the bay leaf, peppercorns, and cinnamon stick for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to lift out the spices.

Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring, for half a minute. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger. Cook 1 minute more.

Stir in the turmeric, cayenne, coriander, ground cumin, and eggplant. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Set aside to cool.

Set the oven at 200°F. Line a plate with paper towels. Have a baking sheet on hand.

In a food processor, work the eggplant mixture, eggs, and salt. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the bread crumbs with a fork. Blend well.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the extra oil in a large nonstick skillet until hot. Ladle the batter in mounds in the pan, leaving room between the pancakes. With a spatula, press down on the latkes so they brown evenly. Cook until the undersides are golden.

Turn the latkes and brown the other sides. Set on the paper towels, then transfer to the baking sheet. Keep warm in the oven. Continue with more oil until all the batter is used.


Reflections on Hannukah

Camille Rosenthale:                           

Click on photo for larger image

Click on photo for larger image

Over Hannukah, I get together with my family and friends. My favorite food to eat is gelt and jelly donuts. One year, my crossing guard gave me a glass menorah, and my sister a glass dreidel. We hung them up and my parents let me light the candles. I get one present every night, and this is one of my favorite holidays.

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

Robert Maier:

My favorite memory of Chanukah is when I finally got the Chanukah blessing right. Because in the past I used to just listen and when I thought that I could say a word, I would say it. But now I say the whole blessing right!


Every year, I have a Hannukah party. Once we had ‘pin the candle’ on the Menorah, and a piñata shaped as a dreidel. Then we lit candles and ate lots and lots of latkes. We had so much fun!

Elias G.

I don’t remember what year it was, but it was totally awesome. I played dreidel with my sister – with chick peas! I tried latkes – they were delicious! They tasted like French fries! I got a nice suitcase that I take on vacation with me. We lit the candles. Hannukah is my favorite Jewish holiday.


My most memorable Hannukah was when the Jewish Community in Princeton set a world record for lighting most menorahs at one time. It took place at Princeton Airport last year, and there was a hangar packed full of people – and it took for ages. At home we like to light Hannukah candles, play dreidel, and get gifts. My favorite Hannukah food is the chocolate gelt.





One year on Hannukah we were at home opening presents, and I got construction paper. I was very mad that all I got that night was construction paper. Now it is a memory in my family that we laugh about every Hannukah.


My favorite memory of Hannukah is hte first time I lit the menorah without any help. I was six years old and my family and I were at home. My Dad suggested that I light the menorah by myself. I did, with shaking hands. It was so cool!      photo 5


My favorite memory of Hannukah was when I got a pet unicorn. It was cool until the pet unicorn flew away, and all I had was part of his horn to remind me of him. Then I realized that it was all a dream.