Chanukkah is observed from Tuesday evening, December 12 - Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Why do we spell Chanukah/Hanukkah/Chanukkah/Hanukkah, etc. so many ways?

When we transliterate from the Hebrew characters, we are using a phonetic spelling – sounding it out into our alphabet. So, all versions are correct, but at Shir Tikvah we use “Chanukkah.” 

Here’s how it’s spelled in Hebrew

First, notice the cool “oooh” vowel under the nun.  We hardly ever see that one.  It’s called a “Koobootz”.  Yep.  Koobootz.  And it sounds like “oooo”

Secondly, a “chet” ח is hard to transliterate.  Some Hebrew speakers say it way back in their throats, like a hoarse "ה"  “hey”, so people transliterate it as “h” or “h” but many transliterate it with “ch”.  Unfortunately many people think “ch” is like the ch in “cheese” so that’s why some people prefer h, which should indicate not quite the expected “h”. 

Thirdlly, the “kaf”  "כ" .  When you put that “dagesh” in the middle, which is the dot, it turns the “chaf” into a “kaf”, כּ.  You’d think that one K or one C would create the “k” sound in English, but that dot (dagesh) shows that there may have been another letter in this word that fell out of use (think how we say, I’m GONNA, instead of I’m GOING).  That dagesh says that this used to be two “chafs” ככ and it’s no longer there, but we write two “k” or “c” to show we know that dagesh  is there. 

In sum, there is no proper way to spell Chanukah in any language.  They all work!

Learn how to answer some of the questions people ask about Chanukkah:

  • Why do we celebrate Chanukkah
  • Why 8 days?
  • Is Chanukkah like a Jewish Christmas?
  • Why do we spell it so many ways?
  • Why do we light the menorah?
  • Why do we give gifts?
  • How do dreidels factor in? 
  • Why do dreidels have the letters they do?
  • What is the real story?
  • What are the prayers for Chanukah?
Join us on Shabbat Chanukkah, Friday, December 15, 2017

6:00 p.m. Services in the sanctuary, followed by a Congregational Potluck*

*Please bring a potluck dish to share. 

Please be sure to avoid dishes with pork, shellfish, or both meat & dairy.

RSVP here (so we know how many latkes to get!)

Click here for Chanukkah blessings and songsheet The songsheet includes songs from the US, Israel and around the world, Hebrew songs, Yiddish, Ladino, and English, in various combinations.

Check out: 8 Chanukkah Gifts You Can Give to the Environment & Alternatives to Eight Nights of Gifts

Here is a great link about
Chanukkah books for kids:

Watch this fun video on lighting candles!

Did You Know...? Many centuries ago there was a major rabbinical debate as to whether we should light candles from right to left or left to right. Because Rabbi Hillel is almost always right, while Rabbi Shammai is almost always wrong, we have our own minhag, tradition, of how to light the Chanukkah candles - put them into the menorah from right to left, light them from left to right

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