A couple of weeks ago, just before Hanukkah officially began, Sandra over at West Philly Mama and I got together to do a little teaching and learning. The Who and I brought our menorahs, books, dreidels, and the ingredients for latke-making and then — lucky us! — Sandra agreed to guest-post about our day. (I’ll be returning the favor over at her blog sometime in the next week or so.)
If you like what you read here (and, of course you will) head on over to West Philly Mama to read more and more and more. (And see multiple pictures of her impossibly cute children.)
As part of our Darkest Days Of Winter calendar, we had The Who and his mama over to share a bit about Hanukkah with us. I wanted to incorporate learning about other traditions into our winter festivities – but I had envisioned going to the library and checking out a book or two. This was SO much better!
I’m embarassingly clueless about Jewish traditions so I anticipated that Leo and I would be learning together (isn’t that one of the coolest things about having kids, it motivates you to explore subjects you’ve been too “busy” to research up to now?), but I thought I’d have to do most of the legwork. Thanks to MamaWho’s generous offer we just had to open our door and they came in with bags full of chocolate gelt, a CD of Hanukkah music, dreidels, Hanukkah books and ingredients for latkes. I didn’t even have to google a latke recipe.
We started with a game of dreidel. The Who played a few rounds patiently while Leo and I got the hang of it and MamaWho explained the difference between Nun, Gimel, Hei, and Shin. I was impressed with Leo’s interest level and willingness to wait his turn and give back coins if the dreidel so dictated – I mean, for a two and a half year old anyway. After several rounds The Who couldn’t wait any longer and asked if they could have a gelt. This was my absolute favorite part of the day because Leo had NO idea that there was chocolate inside the gelt – and this was infinitely more exciting than had they actually been made of gold.
After hooking us with chocolate, MamaWho moved us on to peeling and shredding potatoes. We listened to the CD while we worked (and I’ve had “It Was A Miracle!” in my head ever since). We began with two adults and two small children working on the project. Soon Leo and the The Who lost interest and wandered off to play, leaving just MamaWho and I at the helm. That is, until Zoe (my five month old) needed my attention. I’m pretty good at doing things while nursing, but grating potatoes while breastfeeding is not something I’ve mastered – so MamaWho was flying solo. Luckily, she was pretty awesome at frying up the latkes and we were eating in no time. The most important lesson we took away from the day? Be sure to use BOTH sour cream and applesauce on your latkes. This is not an either/or situation.
After we’d had our fill of (freaking delicious) latkes, MamaWho read the kids a couple of Hannukah books. It was a pretty well-rounded day. A few days later Leo got to witness the lighting of the Menorah at a party we attended, which was the final piece in his (our) crash course in Hanukkah. I’m really grateful that The Who and MamaWho were willing to share this with us. It made it so much more genuine than if I had tried to piece something together on my own.