Channukah at Ohana

What a lovely time we had today with one another; all together downstairs learning about Channukah, cooking, singing, playing together and eating. We started off playing with toys on the carpet and when Shelley started to prepare a small area, we knew that it was time to pack away. We helped one another and then we sat and sang our “Hello” song. We all used beautiful voices and said our names clearly. Our teachers are so proud of us for all that we have achieved during the past term. We feel proud too. We noticed that there was a display of Channukiot and some candles. A Channukiah is a nine branched candlestick. One of the candle holders is slightly taller or in a different position from the other ones as this is the Shamash, the candle that lights the other candles. It is the only one that is lit with a match or lighter and then, depending on which night of Channukah, it is, the Shamash lights that number of candles e.g. If it is the second night, we light the Shamash and it then lights two candles; if it is the eighth night, the Shamash lights all eight candles. Today we lit all of the candles after listening to the story. They flickered magically in the room and just when we started eating snack, we noticed that the candles had all melted down and gone out! Shelley told us that Jewish people don’t blow candles out when they light them, they let them burn down to nothing. We love blowing them out and some of us were making a blowing sound. Our teachers placed the candles on the window sill just like people do on Channukah and we watched until the candles had completely disappeared.

The story of Channukah is about a beautiful temple in Jerusalem. People used to come and pray there and meet one another; inside the temple was an everlasting light called the “ner tamid”. It burnt all the time and in the days of the temple in Jerusalem, they used oil to light it. In a nearby land there was a greedy king called “Antiyochus” and he wanted to own the temple so he sent his army to Jerusalem. They chased the Jewish people away and brought animals into it and spoiled it. They even broke the “ner tamid” and the light went out. The Jewish people were not very happy about this, so they trained a small army of men who defeated “Antiyochus” and his men and took back the temple. They were really sad to see that it was destroyed and quickly set about cleaning it and looking for oil to light the “ner tamid”. We sang a song called “I wonder where the oil is?” We saw the oil on the table and were really happy! There was a tiny drop of oil in the jug that was only meant to last for one day; they needed to make more oil and the process of making oil in those days, with olives, took eight days. But……………….this is the miracle of Channukah. The tiny drop of oil lasted eight days and eight nights and this is why there are eight candles on the Channukiah with a place for the Shamash as well. Finn told us that he has one that looks like a train and he also has a “dreidel”. A dreidel is a spinning top that children play with on Channukah. Noa brought two beautiful Channukiot and a box of the most exquisite silver spinning tops to show us. We also have an assortment of spinning tops in the classroom on the second floor. They are made from wood, plastic, rubber and paper. We prepared the potatoes and helped mix them with an egg and then we waited patiently for them to be cooked. Yummmmmmmm…..some of us ate them plain and some of us liked cinnamon sugar on top.

Thanks for another exciting week at school. Enjoy the weekend and stay warm!

Love Shelley, Darren, Goh and Kanako