spinning caramel dreidel
Midweek-Hanukkah Dreidel boredom? I hear from grownups every year: “five minutes and they’re done with dreidel.”
Either I’m an infant or you guys aren’t playing right. You don’t have to play the dreidel game and only the dreidel game.
Upside-down launches, launch from a standing throw, dreidel wars, spin contests, instant battle arenas, glow-in-the-dark paint and so forth can sustain dreidel love for more than 5 minutes. It’s about the love of spin. Continue reading
Manischewitz Tiki Torch oil Menorah
A new lamp for the concord of our souls at the festival of lights: the Manischewitz Tiki Torch Menorah.
Happy Hanukkah, friends. Continue reading
Builders at work
Once you’ve covered the basic rules of kosher menorah structure, practiced the sequences of adding candles and lighting them, and have worked on the blessings, it’s time for free build. The setup can’t be easier, but the rewards are big. Continue reading
building the PVC menorah at a carnival
All my DIY Hanukkah menorahs are made with repurposed materials, scrap or otherwise compelling components. Meatloaf? Easter eggs? Car parts? Marmite jars? Swim noodles? Plumbing supplies? LEGO, too, of course. And more. Irresistible materials attract builders. To build any menorah is a far deeper learning experience than to simply color one on a sheet of paper. Our builders need to build because they are building themselves. Continue reading
upcycled scrap hanukkiyah
Scraptastic or simply crap?
Here’s why I vote for the former:
Orange juice lids are the exactly perfect right size for tealight candles. I dare you to not enjoy slipping a candle into the inner ring of an upturned Tropicana lid. Irresistible. Kids love it. (Teach them the word “frisson” while you’re at it.) Continue reading
A Menorah is a lamp. A lamp is a menorah.
A Hanukkah menorah is a hanukkiyah.
This little set up (above) is so easy to assemble, and its a great way to start a class about menorah structure, rules, and vocab. Continue reading
LEGO Return of the Jedi minifig menorah
Hanukkah and Star Wars. Both stories involve Rebels vs. an Imperial Army. Both stories incite argument about what is in the “canon” and what isn’t.* Continue reading
K’NEX dreidel and launcher
A K’NEX dreidel launcher. Because people tell me that dreidels can get boring. Continue reading
Spinning “Dreidl” models
A 3-D paper dreidel that spins can attract kids who normally run the other way when they see origami on offer. It moves. Continue reading
Motivated by news that a friend’s child-crafted Model Magic menorah caught fire last night, I offer some tips. Not in the superior tone of the irksome “You’re Doing It Wrong” trend, but as a fellow parent of children who come home from Sunday School clutching hand-made Judaica meant to contain naked flame. Continue reading
Nanoblock menorahs (w LEGO minifig for scale)
Happy first night of Hanukkah! I hope that by now, you have found a just-right menorah to light your holiday. Continue reading
PEZ candles, PEZ flames
PEZ Hanukkah menorahs have been a thing for awhile, which means I wasn’t interested in making one, but when my Mom came for a visit bearing a Star Wars Limited Edition PEZ Collector’s Set With 9 Star Wars PEZ Dispensers, what else could I do? Continue reading
Stars are far crisper in person. I held the glasses over my camera lens.
I don’t often tout a store-bought product, but I recently discovered that Jewish Star spectacles are back in production. The holographic lenses convert every focused light source into a Jewish star. Peep at a candle, a ceiling fixture, a lamp, and it becomes a Mogen David. Small light = small star, big light = big star. Imagine looking at a Hanukkah menorah on the 8th night.
Paper Chain Menorah at school entrance
I needed an oversize Hanukkah decoration for our school’s program on Sunday, big enough to be seen across a drab Social Hall. Yesterday, a random Pinterest pic reminded me of an oldie but goodie: a big, paper-chain hanukkiyah. If mounted low enough, it can do double duty as teaching tool: kids can “light” it and practice proper order and blessings. Continue reading
garage hanukkiyah in natural habitat
Sockets are instant candleholders. And a socket holder is an instant Hanukkah menorah base. Thus, the Socket Menorah: instant ritual object for the handyperson or car nut. Continue reading
Schlemiel on a Wheel (clumsy pushcart seller)
Mensch on a Bench and Maccabee on the Mantle are riffs on Elf on a Shelf. So, here’s my riff on the riffs: a trio of tiny Jews—Yiddish stock characters—on Things. All are cautionary tales. However, unlike the toy/book combos just mentioned, they are not surveillance tools for moral accountability. These guys don’t really care about you or your kids at all. Continue reading
Oil menorah, cheap but visible
When I first started doing Jewish holidays I remember being baffled by the Hanukkah candles. Wasn’t the Hanukkah story all about oil? Most every kid’s book highlights the miraculous oil, we fry our latkes and sufganiyot in oil, but every year we (and all the Jews I knew) pull out boxes of multicolored candles to light in honor of the oil. Shouldn’t we light oil to honor oil? Continue reading
Smalls are less than half the size of Altoids tins
Last year I made a “curiously tiny” menorah from an Altoids tin. I also made the claim that as menorahs go, you can’t get much smaller. I was wrong. Continue reading
Elephant Menorah with Martyr and Matches
Today’s menorah features Eleazar Maccabee (Judah’s little brother) and the elephant that was his downfall (because it fell down on him).
What else would I make with a ziploc bag of spent rifle casings?
With me, anything longer than it is wide is not automatically “Freudian,” it is a menorah component. Continue reading
Tangram dreidels (click to print)
Two dreidel patterns for Hanukkah. Fold the sheet to hide the solution if you wish. Continue reading