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Our secular celebration of Hanukkah celebration is another example
of our creative cultural approach to Jewish traditions.

5 Ways Kol Hadash Does Hanukkah Differently

1. The survival of the Jewish people is no miracle; it is the result of human actions and human courage. 

2. We explore the real history of the Maccabees, the menorah and the story of “the miracle of the oil." For us, Hanukkah is an opportunity to celebrate the courage of ancient and modern-day heroes in all of their complexity. Even the dreidel’s origins are not what you might think!

3. From our kindergarteners' formation of the "humanorah" to our Hanukkah samosas (also fried in oil), we “shed new light” on old traditions in a fun family celebration with games, crafts, activities, singing and joy.

4. Families share their own household menorahs to "show and tell" the diversity of today's Jewish experience. There are as many ways to celebrate Hanukkah as there are ways to spell it!

5. Our welcoming Hanukkah celebration is open to everyone and a great introduction to Humanistic Judaism. We appeal to people who identify as Culturally Jewish, Just Jewish, Jew-ish, Jewish and . . . , Half-Jewish, Jews by Choice, Multicultural, Not Religious, Secular, Humanistic, Atheist, and/or Agnostic. No commitment expected or required!

Hanukkah Family Celebration 

All are welcome to join the party!

Sunday, December 10, 10:30 am -12:00 pm

Kol Hadash Sunday School at Deerfield High School
1959 N. Waukegan Road, Deerfield

We provide the main course, and each family brings a side dish, salad or dessert to share and their own menorah (candles provided). Advance registration is required and there is a small fee to cover the cost of lunch.


For more information, please contact our administrator, Jeremy Owens, at, or 847/383-5184.

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Hanukkah FAQs

1. Do you light the menorah?
Yes! It is no accident that Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, comes at the darkest time of the year. It reflects a human desire for light and inspiration. We also celebrate the warmth of family and community, and our connection to Jewish tradition and heritage.

2. Do you say the traditional blessings/prayers?
We have Humanistic versions of blessings in our Home Hanukkah celebration. Since people created the original blessings centuries ago, people today can adapt their Judaism to agree with their own values and beliefs.  

3. What do you think about families who celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas (or Diwali or Lunar New Year)?
Humanistic Judaism has always celebrated interfaith and intercultural partnerships and families, and we encourage everyone to be true to themselves. Celebrating multiple cultures in one family enriches each holiday by connecting with our diverse roots.

4. How do you teach the story of Hanukkah?
The Maccabean rebellion started as a defense of Jewish religious freedom, but it became more fundamentalist over time. The story of the Miracle of the Oil first appears centuries after the Maccabees. Read more in our Home Hanukkah service, page 3.

5. Do you play dreidel?
Yes! See our Home Hanukkah service for more on the history of the dreidel and how to play.  

6. Do you sing Hanukkah songs?
Yes! Although not all traditional Hanukkah songs are Humanistic, we have adapted some songs to fit our focus on inclusion, human action, and human responsibility. See examples in our Home Hanukkah Service.

7. What is the correct way to spell Hanukkah?
The name of this Jewish holiday has more than 16 transliterations. Some of the most common are: Hanukah, Hanukkah, Chanuka, Chanukah, Chanukkah, and Hannukkah. The preferred spelling by the Library of Congress is “Hanukkah.” However you decide to spell it, we hope it brings you joy!

Questions? Contact our administrator, Jeremy Owens, at (847) 383-5184 or

Fri, May 24 2024 16 Iyar 5784