Love, Lights, Presents and Other Chanukah Musings from Local Kids


Kids at local synagogue schools discuss their favorite things about Chanukah.

Chanukah is early this year. Hooray! (It begins Nov. 27 at sundown.) That means we get our presents early, and you won’t hear complaints from toddlers and the inner toddler of grown-ups.

During recent interviews, little ones at local synagogue schools often said their favorite thing about Chanukah was the presents, and provided readers with gift ideas.

But this wasn’t all they talked about. They discussed other fun ways they celebrate the holiday, plus immaterial values. What follows are excerpts from these interviews, grouped according to schools, starting with the oldest child and ending with the youngest.

Beth Am Israel

Gabe Marder, 7

Favorite pastime: Playing baseball and video games

Background: Gabe was nominated for this article by Holli Elgart, his Hebrew school teacher. After other students said they liked Chanukah because of the presents, Elgart said Gabe told his classmates that he favored the holiday for other reasons. During Gabe’s phone interview, Mom and Dad filled in some details.

Why is Chanukah a special holiday to you?

Because I get to spend time with family, and I get to play with my friends.

What do you do during Chanukah?

Well, most of the time me and my friends are like doing stuff and so is Ben (brother) and his friends. And the grown-ups are sitting in the living room talking, and there are also, like, snacks on the table. (Mom added that people come over to their house almost every night of Chanukah.)

We also do, like, fun stuff. Like the only thing that I remember is, like, we make dreidels. We, like, take a marshmallow and stuff a pretzel inside and a Hershey kiss on the bottom.

(Dad added that the kids make dreidels and menorahs out of snack foods.)

What do you want for Chanukah this year?

I don’t know, but I definitely want some LEGO sets because I’m running short on them.

Temple Beth Zion-Beth israel

Background: Morah Daena (Berdougo), head teacher of the pre-school, assisted with these interviews at the school.


Eliana Heater, 4¾

Favorite pastime: To play with my dog.

What do you like about Chanukah?


Do you know what you’re going to get for Chanukah?

I want a toy… A dollie… Ariel. (Morah Daena: Little Mermaid.)

How do you want to spend the day on Chanukah?

I want it to be flowers.

What kind of flowers?



Gabe Goldberg, 4½

Favorite pastime: Play in the garden with that green digger that has a deer on it.

What do you like about Chanukah?


What do you want for Chanukah?

A Hot Wheels.

Anything else?

A giant crane that I can sit on inside.

Why do you want to do that?

It would be fun to control a crane. A red one.

Is there a special way you want to spend Chanukah?

I especially enjoy Chanukah with my uncles, Uncle Ben and Uncle Dan. They give me piggy back rides.


Andrew Doss, 4

Favorite pastime: Play games

What does Chanukah mean to you?


Why does it mean love to you?

Because there’s presents.

And why is presents about love?

Because God gives presents because God loves us.


Harry Solomon, 4

Favorite pastime: Clean: floors, my room, and my drawers.

What do you like about Chanukah?

OK, that’s a hard one.

What do you like to do on Chanukah?

Get presents.

What do you want to get?

Cars and a little toy vacuum cleaner.

Why do you want a toy vacuum cleaner?

I like vacuum cleaners.

Is there something you want to give other people on Chanukah?

My mom money.

Germantown Jewish Centre

Background: Participants are in Aviva Hassan’s Gan Katan class.

Peter Fisher, 5

Favorite pastime: I don’t have like a favorite.

Can you tell me what you like about Chanukah?

The story.

What do you like about the story?

How they, like, break the lights.

Can you explain a little more?

There’s a little jar of oil that they think is going to last for just one night and it lasts for eight nights. I also like the part that Judah Maccabee saved the temple.

Do you like to imagine that you’re like Judah Maccabee?


Do you eat something special on Chanukah?

I like the (chocolate) Chanukah gelt … And also, I like the potato latkes and applesauce.


Elijah Barkan, 4

Favorite pastime: Watching TV

What do you like about Chanukah?

I like the latkes.

Anything else you like about Chanukah?

Yeah, I like the story. The menorah … also like the Judah Maccabees because my brother has a friend named Judah.

Do you light the candles?

I do light the candles, but I hold my mom’s arm while I light it. I do have a lot of menorahs. So that means I need a lot of candles.

How many menorahs do you have?

I have like maybe 5 or 4. Mom’s and dad’s too, and my brother’s.

What do you want for Chanukah?

I want clay that I can make dreidels out of them, and then the clay dries.

Beth Sholom Congregation

Emily Rose Schwartz, 5

Favorite pastime: My favorite thing to do at school is going to the playground.

What do you like about Chanukah?

You get presents every single day; that’s why I get so excited.

What presents do you want for Chanukah?

Well, I’d like to have a race car that actually drives by itself. It drives with a wheel and a pedal, but my family doesn’t want me to have one. They think it’s too dangerous, and it costs too much money.

How are you going to celebrate Chanukah?

We decorate the house and car.

Is there anything else you like about celebrating Chanukah?

Well, celebrating Chanukah is fun, but when it’s gone it kind of gets sad, and when Chanukah’s coming again, I get super happy.


Miriam Goldshaw, 3

Favorite pastime: Read books.

What do you like about Chanukah?


What kind of games?

Dreidel games.

What presents do you want for Chanukah?


What kind of flowers?


Is there something you want to give mommy and daddy?

A book.

You know what kind of book?

A purple one.

Is there a special something you want to say about Chanukah for everyone to know?

That’s what Miriam said, “Torah.”

The youngest interviewee responded with an example of the wisdom of the ages.

Happy Chanukah, everyone!

Lynne Blumberg is a Philadelphia freelance writer who always makes sure she has enough oil reavailable in the house. This article appeared originally in a special section, "Chanukah Gift Guide."



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