Shalom – שלום
We celebrate Chanukah in just two weeks, so our Letter of the Week is ח for Chanukah. And Chanukah – חנכה – is our Jewish Life Vocabulary word for the week.
Students have asked why there are different ways to spell Chanukah in English. The reason is that English doesn’t include the “ח ” sound. In fact, some people write “Hannukah” and say “Ha…” instead of “Cha…” to make life easier for English speakers.
Here’s a challenge for you. Ask your students how they would describe the sound of “ח ” without actually saying it. Email me what your students come up with, and I’ll share ideas in our next letter.
(To make life even more interesting, there’s another letter with the same sound – stay tuned for next week’s letter.)
People use various words to describe the candelabra for Chanukah. Many call it a “menorah”, which actually comes from the word to describe the candelabra with 7 branches that is a symbol of Israel. Some use the term “menorat Chanukah”, to specify that is it a Chanukah menorah and not a standard menorah. There is also a special Hebrew words we use only the Chanukah candlelabra, and that word is “chanukiyah”.
We have several greetings for Chanukah:
Chanukah Sameach! חַנֻכָּה שָׂמֵחַ Happy Chanukah.
Chag urim sameach! חַג אוּרִים שׂמֵחַ Happy Festival of Lights!
Chag sameach! חַג שׂמֵחַ Happy Holiday!
Gayle A. Kaplan