Hanukkah in OKC - MetroFamily Magazine
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Hanukkah in OKC

by Julia Assef

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Hanukkah! The Festival of Lights is such a joyous and festive holiday each year! It’s pretty tough to compete with Christmas (especially in Oklahoma), but it is so important that we show our daughters how special Hanukkah can be.

All of the Jewish Holidays are by the Lunar calendar, which means Hanukkah is at a different time each year. This year, Hanukkah begins on the eve of Sunday, Nov. 28.

Events
The Jewish community here in Oklahoma City is small but oh-so-vibrant! Our family loves to attend the Annual Menorah Lighting at Scissortail Park. At this event, our kids will perform Hanukkah songs and honored members of the community get to light the HUGE menorah. Last year, Chabad Jewish Community Center of OKC began the first Menorah Car Parade, with giant lit up menorahs attached to 20 vehicles, and we paraded throughout Oklahoma City with lights shining bright.

Meals
On a smaller scale, our family will always get together with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins to enjoy a festive Chanukah meal. For many of us, a traditional Chanukah meal includes savory brisket, fried potato latkes (much like hash browns) with applesauce or sour cream and a delectable chocolate dessert and jelly-filled doughnuts. To commemorate the miracle of the the oil lasting eight days, we are supposed to fry our foods in oil. Bring on the sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts) and latkes (potato pancakes)!

Games
You might have seen a dreidel or two in your time; it’s essentially a spinning top that children play with at Chanukah time. The game is pretty simple: spin the dreidel and if you land on Gimel: you win; Hay: you take half; Shin: Put one in or Nun: you get nothing! We like to play dreidel with gelt (chocolate coins), but it is so tough to not gobble the gelt instead of hoarding it to win the game!

Gifts
In our family, our girls look forward to receiving one small gift each of the eight nights of Chanukah. We always light the menorah first, eat our dinner and then one gift can be opened. Suspense is everything!

Julia Assef is a local realtor and involved member of the Jewish Community in Oklahoma City. She and her home builder husband, David, have two precious girls, Esther (9) and Scarlett (7) who are being raised to love and appreciate their Jewish traditions and rich history.

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