Can American Jewish Parents Defuse the Christmas Seasonal Frenzy with Chanukah?
(Includes "Tex-Mex" Potato Latke Recipe
from "Divine Kosher (™) Cuisine Cookbook")
By Annette Keen
The Synagogue – Religious School – Home Connection
Many years ago I came across an article that asked a serious if rhetorical question. Is it possible in America for Jewish parents to defuse the super commercially charged Christmas Holiday season and celebrate Chanukah with their children in a nonmaterialistic, uncomplicated way? The sophisticated, relentless annual barrage that commercializes the holiday season, to the distress of many Christian parents also, is a double challenge to Jewish parents, especially of small children.
The advice was as simple as it was profound. Teach your children at Chanukah about the importance of the right not to assimilate, the difference between admiring glitzy things and hankering after them. Our holiday and theirs is about more than getting presents. Kids are smart, and they pick up at a very early age what parents authentically value. To inculcate both Jewish pride, tradition and values, parents must live their ideals. Make Judaism and its celebrations, in this case Chanukah, a meaningful and shared experience for the whole family by making the synagogue, religious school and home connection early in your life and the lives of your children. Here are some suggestions.
Start early: Children begin early to sort out their identities. Encourage them to talk about their feelings of inundation or confusion at this time of year. There is understandable anxiety in being a minority; every child wants to belong. Stress the upside to being unique, having a special heritage of courage, heroism and pride.
Send them to Hebrew School: For formal instruction and camaraderie, Jewish education is crucial.
Teach by example: Attend synagogue services, and enjoy home celebrations with family and friends.
Make Chanukah meaningful: Endow your holiday with things that delight, educate and personalize. You can give each child his or her own menorah to light, so that the house is enchantingly aglow each evening. Encourage kids to display their menorahs in their room year round with other Judaic items.
It’s not only about receiving gifts: Have kids also give holiday gifts. They can bring used toys, books and clothes to a hospital pediatric floor, or to a shelter.
Feed kids' senses: Fill your home with the aromas of special holiday foods, both traditional and trendy. (See recipe below.)
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“Tex-Mex” Potato Latkes Heat Up Chanukah
From Divine (tm) Kosher Cuisine Cookbook
By Annette Keen*
Mix all ingredients together except egg whites and oil. Beat whites at mixer high speed until stiff. Fold into corn mixture. Spoon in batter by tablespoons into skillet of heated oil Fry each side until golden brown. Drain. Serve with Caliente Sour Cream.
- 1 cup corn
- ˝ cup chopped onions
- 2 chopped green onions
- 3 tablespoon choppedgreen pepper
- 3 tablespoon choppedred pepper
- 1 tablespoon grated gingerroot
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon choppedfresh dill
- 1 teaspoon choppedfresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ˝ teaspoon pepper
- ˝ cup flour
- ˝ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 large eggs separated
- vegetable frying oil
- Caliente Sour Cream
* Annette Keen is a freelance writer in upstate New York, and text author of Divine (tm) Kosher Cuisine, a cookbook written with chefs Rise Routenberg and Barbara Wasser.)
This is one of four latke recipes in "Divine (tm) Kosher Cuisine," the multi-award winning congregational cookbook published by Congregation Agudat Achim in Niskayuna, New York. With many traditional and contemporary Chanukah menus and recipes, our cookbook is the perfect holiday gift for friends and family, for hosts and guests. It is available at many Judaica shops and bookstores around the country and online. You can also order the cookbook at www. divinekosher.com.
from the December 2008 Edition of the Jewish Magazine