Wayne Hills Students Celebrate Hanukkah


Pictured is Senior Sydney Levitt and her younger sister Skylar Levitt, a junior. On the first night of Hanukkah, the Levitt family celebrated by lighting their menorah.

By Eunho Jung, Senior Editor

In 2021, Hanukkah began on the evening of Sunday, November 28, and will end eight days later on Monday, December 6. Unlike Christmas, the dates of Hanukkah vary each year due to the Hebrew calendar, which is lunisolar.

For more information on the history of this joyous holiday, check out this article.

Even in Wayne, New Jersey, Hanukkah is a widely celebrated holiday. On Monday, November 29, Wayne Township held its fifth annual menorah lighting ceremony with over 100 residents coming out to celebrate. Latkes and jelly doughnuts were distributed, songs were sung, and gelts were thrown from a ladder. Speeches were made by Mayor Chris Vergano and local Jewish dignitaries.

The Jewish community at Wayne Hills High School celebrates this holiday as well.

Allan Shneyderman, a junior Jewish student, shared how his family celebrates this holiday. “Every night during Hanukkah we have family or friends over. We always eat the customary foods such as latkes, matzo ball soup, and some uncustomary foods as well,” Shneyderman explained. “I think just getting together with family is the most special part of Hanukkah, while cherishing the Jewish tradition.”

Like Allan’s family, latkes are a very popular Jewish dish and are eaten during the nights of Hanukkah and year-round. They are traditional potato pancakes that are fried in oil.Classic Latke Recipe - How to Make the Best Potato Pancakes - Delish.com

Similarly Skylar Levitt, also another junior and Jewish student, shares similar customs. “We eat latkes which are traditional food eaten on Chanukah,” Levitt shared. “You can even eat them with apple sauce or sour cream. We also light the menorah every night and say a special prayer. My favorite part of the holiday is giving and receiving gifts.”

The special prayer that Levitt mentioned is the Hanukkah blessings that are recited before the lighting of the candles. There are three blessings. On the first night, all three are recited and only the first and second the following nights.

Harris LiPuma, a senior at Wayne Hills, also celebrates Hanukkah. “On the first night of Hanukkah, my whole family gets together and we eat latkes. My favorite part is seeing my grandma,” LiPuma shared.

Hannah Nussbaum, a sophomore at Wayne Hills, also enjoys eating latkes with her family. “My favorite Hanukkah food is probably latkes, and my favorite part of the holiday is spending time with family,” she said.

Although it may not be a formally recognized component of the holiday, gifts are given and received each night. From toys to shoes to gelt, it is similar to the gift-giving custom of Christmas.

The Wayne Hills Journalism Class wishes every student celebrating this holiday a happy Hanukkah or “Hanukkah sameach!”