Hanukkah Mood

Ronit Sherwin

Ronit Sherwin

I ran into Bed, Bath and Beyond yesterday to buy an extra large box of Hanukkah candles. Now that we are lighting a hanukkiyah in my home for each family member, I realized that the standard box will just not suffice. As I entered the store, I was suddenly engulfed (quite literally) in holiday everything! Even though I am fully aware that our society is in the holiday season, the intensity of the atmosphere still strikes me every year.

I made my way over to the Hanukkah display and found a box of candles. I then took several minutes to peruse the Hanukkah paraphernalia – table clothes, lights, cookie cutters, games and a giant star of David cake mold. I actually came close to buying that cake mold, but realized that I have no intention nor need for a cake. I suddenly felt very festive about Hanukkah and began to contemplate my usual low-key Hanukkah approach.


As a Jewish educator, I have always described Hanukkah as a holiday that falls low on the totem pole of Jewish significance. It gets more coverage in our society due to its proximity to Christmas. And it is often associated with gift giving for that reason as well. Personally, I have always celebrated Hanukkah quite privately by lighting my hanukkiyah at home each evening, saying the requisite prayers and then concluding with a Hanukkah song. Last year, my kids were merely weeks old and I was still in the zombie phase of motherhood, so I felt quite accomplished to simply light the candles for eight consecutive nights.

But this year I am feeling energized and motivated to get in the mood for Hanukkah. I should set the stage for my now one year old kids to feel spirited for Hanukkah in future years. No, it is not as significant as Rosh Hashanah or Pesach, but hey, why not celebrate Hanukkah with a little festivity. So I rushed across the street to Trader Joe’s and purchased some frozen latkes and chocolate gelt, made some phone calls to invite friends on different nights and drove home in the mood for Hanukkah.