Chanukah! with Yenta Bernheim

Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: We are a bit late, so let us get started.

Yenta Bernheim and Walter Schoggenstein are also the Duchess and Duke of Caledon Ahavah, in the south of that land. They have been known since their arrival for their charity and generosity, which reflects their behaviours in their First Lives as well.

They have become known for their beautiful ballroom and the dances held there. As they are also devout in their faith, they were the perfect presenters to explain to us something about the Jewish Festival of Lights, Chanukah, one of many seasonal celebrations in the wintertime.

One last note – the Duchess and Duke will be donating their tips to fundraising against Pancreatic Cancer.

Duchess Yenta, thank you and His Grace for this presentation.

Yenta Bernheim: Shalom my friends, and in light of the seasons her upon us all …no matter your culture of Faith Mazel Tov.

Walter and I first wish to thank for your invitation. We love Community and consider all our Friends. And just so you are aware Walter isn’t allowed to speak.

Walter Schnogginstein coughs.

Yenta Bernheim: Mostly because he can’t get a word in. I am chatty.

Let me begin.

The topic we have chosen is Chanukah, The Festival of Lights.

More than twenty-one centuries ago, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who sought to forcefully Hellenize the people of Israel. Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of G-d.

When they sought to light the Temple’s menorah (the seven branched candelabrum), they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks; miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.

To commemorate and publicize these the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah. At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah (candelabrum) lighting: a single flame on the first night, two on the second evening, and so on till the eighth night of Chanukah, when all eight lights are kindled.

On Chanukah we also add the Hallel and Al HaNissim in our daily prayers to offer praise and thanksgiving to G-d for “delivering the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few… the wicked into the hands of the righteous.”

Chanukah customs include eating foods fried in oil — latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (doughnuts); playing with the dreidel (a spinning top on which are inscribed the Hebrew letters nun, gimmel, hei and shin, an acronym for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, “a great miracle happened there”); and the giving of Chanukah gelt, gifts of money, to children.

All over the world, no matter where, the Chanukah table is basically the same. Fried foods are the main staple, like Latkas with Sour Cream and Apple sauce …lots of chives and onion. I meant to add recipes from my family in your gifts I will be giving out later. But if you im me after (please not now) I’ll send.

I gave you the History for the people but I would like to share a personal side. When I was a little girl especially, this was a time for Family …so many Jews were lost in the Holocaust (over 6 million). So, for Jews making family multiply is important. Family is not just those born to us; it’s community, too.

The lesson learned with the war with the Maccabees and Greeks centered around persecution for who you are. In light of that message we are all Jews. We live in such good times …the Miracle of the lights is needed as much now as then. Diversity and Tolerance. Be who you are and be proud.

My family would sit on the first night. The matriarch would like the first candle, and I had my little menorah, and I would light mine. After the blessing, we would share bread….Challah, and then we basically made feast.

I will share with you now the prayers of the lighting. Before kindling the Chanukah lights on the first night of Chanukah, Tuesday, December 20, 2011, (or if you’re kindling the Chanukah lights for the first time this year) recite all three blessings. On every subsequent night only the first two are recited.

Recited only on the first night (or the first time lighting this Chanukah):
1. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech ha-olam a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mitz-vo-tav ve-tzi-va-nu le-had-lik ner Cha-nu-kah.

Translation:
1. Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.

The second blessing :
2. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam she-a-sa ni-sim la-avo-te-nu ba-ya-mim ha-hem bi-zman ha-zeh.
2. Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.

The 3rd :
3. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam she-heche-ya-nu ve-ki-yi-ma-nu ve-higi-a-nu liz-man ha-zeh.
3. Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

The Candles are lit from the Right to the Left. You always use the center candle to light, never one of the 8. We do this to remember the Miracle and to remember to accept one another without prejudice.

Shalom to you all From Walter and I. Please come visit our Synagogue in Caledon Ahavah. There is also a Memorial there built by our very own Dimmie and Lady Sol, because we have to remember those not here with us any longer. Because we are all Metaphysically bound to one another no matter our Faith. Shalom and Mazel Tov many thanks for inviting us to share. I will attempt to answer questions.

Walter Schnogginstein: My duchess, perhaps you’d like to cycle through the slide show. I haven’t advanced any of the slides. I will advance them now, and you can explain each of them.

Solace Fairlady raises hand for a question

Bodhisatva Paperclip: Does the word Chanukah derive from other words?

Yenta Bernheim: Yes Solace?

Solace Fairlady: I am so sorry Dame Yenta, but you say 8 candles, for the 8 days, but I only see 7 on the menorah?

Yenta Bernheim: Chanukah is derived from the hebrew word to “dedicate”

Bodhisatva Paperclip: Ah! I see.

Yenta Bernheim: Oy I put the wrong menorah out this is one that is just used in the synagogue as a light

Solace Fairlady: O I see!

Solace Fairlady: they would have 9m then, the central and 8 to the sides?

Walter Schnogginstein: Duchess, would you care to explain the slides? This looks like a cookie?

Yenta Bernheim: oh let me look at the slides

zaida Gearbox: do you still give presents on all de nights of hannakah?

Yenta Bernheim: I know this will come as a shock but it’s not rezzed for me

Walter Schnogginstein: It’s a cookie

Bodhisatva Paperclip: It looks kind of like a triangular kolache

Darlingmonster Ember: is yummy golden yummy

Jimmy Branagh: Looks loike a turnover

Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Hamatashen, is it?

Skye McLeod: a tri-cornered one, Yenta

Walter Schnogginstein: Here is a picture of chocolate coins and a toy

Walter Schnogginstein: A dreidel?

Yenta Bernheim: The Dreidel with the geld

Yenta Bernheim: I see it now

Solace Fairlady: Dame Yenta, why in particular a spinning top? Is it related in some fashion to the same concpet as a prayer wheel?

Yenta Bernheim: We would play the game and win the gold coins which are chocolate

Walter Schnogginstein: This is a picture of the bread…challah

Yenta Bernheim: the spinning top has been an easy gift and is great to teach children hebrew

Darlingmonster Ember: we always gave out tops with cantrips when I was a child

Yenta Bernheim: Ah and though Christmas has gift giving during the 8 days a gift is given everyday

Yenta Bernheim: What my Family does on Christmas Day is we go to the Mission and serve Christmas dinner to the people there

Walter Schnogginstein: This is a picture of the Hanikkah Table

Yenta Bernheim: Usually we have brisket

Yenta Bernheim: and there is good brisket and bad brisket

Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Duchess, I believe you were going to address the variant spellings of the holiday as well?

Yenta Bernheim: Well the varient is like most things …cultural

Yenta Bernheim: Currently in this modern time you will see Chanukah

Yenta Bernheim: but the most historically correct is Hanukkah I do believe

Walter Schnogginstein: Latkas!

Walter Schnogginstein: This is the final slide. Lighting of the menorah.

Yenta Bernheim: We will have a giant menorah on the hill of Ahavah that will be erected on the 20th

Yenta Bernheim: And we will light a Menorah and say Prayers in the Synagogue for any who wish to attend

Jimmy Branagh: Is there a time set Miss Yenta?

Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Danke, Duchess. Your generosity in making the craft this month is appreciated.

Yenta Bernheim: sunset

Jimmy Branagh: Ummm … When is sunset in SL?

Skye McLeod: sunset in Caledon, I believe

Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Danke, Duchess. I shall be picking up the tipjar now, and Her Grace will have a nice donation for the Pancreatic Cancer Society.

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