(Re)Dedication: Chanukah and Our Online Classroom

Makom @ Home celebrated Chanukah together in many creative ways! We learned that Chanukah means (re)dedication. We shared our families’ traditions about ways to celebrate:

  • Dreidel, presents, gelt, sufganiyot
  • Cooking and spending time with each other
  • And playing
  • Latkes
  • We fry different foods
  • Yes, we light candles
  • Eight lights eight nights
  • I light candles, today they’re all burned down.

We explored a text about Hillel and Shammai’s different traditions for how many candles to light each night. Hillel lit one the first night and two the second night, up to eight on the eighth night, while Shammai started with eight on the first night and decreased each night down to one on the last night. We each chose a candle layout to use for our on-screen candle lighting together:

6 chanukiyot with hand-drawn candles and flames

Then, we invented a new game of dreidel that we could play online together. We thought about what would happen when a given letter came up, whether the activities would be just for the spinner or for everyone, and if anything special would happen according to the sequence of letters that we spin. Here are our rules:

  • Nun: person who spun finds and shows us something in your house that starts with the sound the letter nun makes.
  • Gimel: everyone dances!
  • Hey: person who spun draws the letter hey or types/draws something you want.
  • Shin: person who spun points to your shin or draws a nonsense picture with waffles.
  • If the same letter comes up twice in a row, spin again instead of doing the activity for that letter.

We also enjoyed pointing out the Chanukah tunes that snuck their way into our Tefilah this week and singing along!

The next week, we brought one of our Tefilot into Textsploration – the V’ahavta paragraph of the Shema. It starts with instructions to love God and then introduces two ritual objects to remind us to love: tefillin and mezuzah. We shared about what reminds us to love:

  • Hmmm, when I see images on my mom’s phone of me with my dad or her, I see how much I love them.
  • Doing nice things for people
  • Pictures of me and bunnies or just bunnies

We compared and contrasted how we show love to God and how we show love to neighbors and strangers:

  • People: give hugs and say I Love You 
  • God: eat only Kosher food on Passover (matzah, popover, kosher cookie)

We tried wrapping our arms with Wikistix or ribbons to explore what it might be like to wear tefillin. Some of us liked it and kept them on for Tefilah. Some of us found them distracting and took them off. 

We brought Chanukah into this week preparing to dedicate our Zoom classroom. We also created our own mezuzot for our “doorposts”. Some of us designed decorative covers and some selected text for the inside:

We are challenging ourselves to embody Makom Community’s philosophy of Jewish Placemaking in our ephemeral Zoom classroom. I’m so excited to see how Makom @ Home kids’ learning shapes our environment next!

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