Monday, December 7, 2015

Celebrating Hanukkah in My LDS Seminary Class

I don't know how your seminary year is going, but I am having a hard time keeping up with my lessons so that I am on track for the assessment test.  Since it is Hanukkah I really want to incorporate the holiday into my daily lessons. This week is a four day week for my class.  I thought that I would just touch on a little bit of Hanukkah every day this week.  

I will give you an overview of what we did to celebrate.

Day one: 
I introduced the holiday to the class. I decorated with some Jewish garland that I bought at Hobby Lobby for half price.  Below is a outline of the holiday with a link for more information.  Since we are studying Numbers 15 where the children of Isreal were commanded to wear the blue tassels I could tie it into the Jewish blue of the Hanukkah holiday. Here is a great explanation of the blue from the Institute manual.

The ribbon of blue also symbolically suggested concepts of deep importance. Blue signifies the heavens and so symbolizes the spiritual realm or godliness (see Fallows, Bible Encyclopedia, s.v. “colors,” 1:440).
“The zizith [tassel] on the sky-blue thread was to serve as a memorial sign to the Israelites, to remind them of the commandments of God, that they might have them constantly before their eyes and follow them, and not direct their heart and eyes to the things of this world, which turn away from the word of God, and lead astray to idolatry.” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 1:3:104.)

Here is a link to great explanation of Hanukkah: has this amazing Hanukkah information sheet on how to celebrate Hanukkah.

Hanukkah, the festival of Lights, begins on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, and lasts for eight days.

Day Two:
I brought the class some of the Hanukkah Gelt (chocolate gold coins) that are used during Hanukkah.  I gave each student a few of them.  I reviewed the scripture mastery Exodus 19:5-6:

 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
We discussed what it meant and what we need to do to be a peculiar treasure.  I explained that it is part of the Hanukkah tradition to give out this candy.  
The Jewish Outreach Institute has a great explanation for the Hanukkah Gelt:

Day Three:
I told the class about the Apocrypha.  You can read about it here in the D&C Student Manual.
“Speaking of the Apocrypha the Lord says: ‘There are many things contained therein that are true, and it is mostly translated correctly; There are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men. Verily, I say unto you, that it is not needful that the Apocrypha should be translated. Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth; And whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom; And whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited. Therefore it is not needful that it should be translated.’ (D. & C. 91.) …
The Latka comes from the story of Judith that is in the Apocrypha. So does the story of Hanukkah.  Without going into a lot a detail, I gave them this explanation of Judith.  When the Assyrian armies were attacking  a town near Jerusalem,  a beautiful woman named Judith wanted to save her town.  Judith snuck into the invading armies camp where the general spotted her and invited her into his tent for dinner.  She fed the general salty cakes to make him thirsty for wine.  When he was drunk she chopped off his head with his own sword and took his head back into town.  When the army found their general headless, they left town. Judith saved her town from the invading army.
I cooked the class some potato Latkes. I combined a couple of different recipes that I found online.
You will need onion, salt, potatoes, eggs, flour and peanut oil. While the recipe works with any type of potato, using Yukon Gold is recommended.
Potato Latkes 
2 cups peeled and shredded potatoes
2 Tablespoons of flour
1 Tablespoon grated onion (fried if desired)
3 eggs beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup peanut oil for frying
Drain and dry the potatoes the best you can.  Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  Heat the peanut oil in a heavy frying pan.  Using either a 1/3 or a 1/4 cup measuring cup drop the potato mixture into the oil.  Use the back of the measuring cup to flatten the potato mixture into a flat pancake.  Fry 2-3 minutes.  Flip when the potatoes are golden brown.  Brown on the opposite side for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot with sour cream and green onions or apple sauce.
I also found this frozen hash brown latkes recipe on It's much easier for those of us who are teaching early morning seminary.  Just click here for the recipe.
Day Four:
We played the dreidel game at the end of class.  I used a honey cereal for the markers.  I also served donuts to the class in honor of the Jewish tradition to have donuts made in oil.  For a fun article you can read "The war is all about the oil" on
I bought some dreidels at Hobby Lobby. Luckily they were half price!  Target sales them in packs of 8 for $1, but they were sold out.  
For rules on how to play the dreidel game from MyJewishLearning click here.

Here's a printout that you can use:

Here's a paper friendly version:

We had a great time discovering the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

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