Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Celebrating Hanukkah, Mormon Foodie Style

Today is the first day of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. It actually started last night with the lighting of the first candle on the menorah. What a cool time of year.

As a Mormon, I don't really celebrate Hanukkah in any traditional way. I do like to use it as a time to honor and remember the shared heritage that both Jews and Christians have.

Whether or not some Christians choose to accept this or not, we owe the Jewish people a lot. The Old Testament comes to mind. The first Christians were Jews. Our Savior Jesus Christ was Jewish and it's likely He celebrated Hanukkah.

So I like to gather my family together at this time of year and share the story of the Macabees' victory over the Greek invaders, and the miracle of the oil (one-day's-worth of oil burned for eight days during the re-dedication of the temple).

These Godly heroes didn't only defeat the Greek army, they won their right to worship as they believed. Their spirit and determination is worth celebrating, evening if you're not Jewish. For me, Hanukkah is a gentle reminder of the importance of family, and having faith. It's a celebration of light in the darkness of winter, of standing up for what you believe in, and of winning against all odds.

As a foodie, it's also great excuse to eat Jewish food. I really enjoy putting together a dinner of sephardic fish, potato latkes, and a chunky salad of tomatoes, celery, and cucumber. It's always a hit with my kids.

Especially the sufganiot (Israeli-style jelly donuts).

For more information on Hanukkah, visit

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