Contributed by Grace Omens
When I was growing up, the eight night celebration of Hanukkah was shared by all family generations, who tended to live close by each other. I always received Hanukkah gelt (money) from my parents and grandparents and I was THRILLED if I got a dollar!
My children enjoyed receiving gelt each day from their grandfather (my father-in-law), who gave them each 10-cents on the first night, 20-cents on the second night, 40-cents on the third night, and so forth— doubling the amount daily to total $25.50 per kid after eight nights! I remember him coming over each night and the kids eagerly counting the daily amount and adding it all up. They loved this tradition and it is something they still talk about every year—how Grandpa doubled their money every night! When my children had kids, they started giving them small presents each night, which many families do.
The most significant thing during Hanukkah, of course, is lighting the candles on the menorah every night with the family. This symbolic act is to acknowledge the miracle of Hanukkah and celebrate the ancient Jewish peoples’ victory over a tyrant king and the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. As the story goes, a small quantity of oil to light the Temple’s menorah miraculously lasted eight days.
Happy Hanukkah to all!