I’m not Jewish but we began celebrating some Jewish holidays when my daughter was a child. It began with two key events. One was that my daughter learned about Jewish holidays at school as part of her religion lessons in Grade One and was so taken by them, that for a time she wanted to convert to Judaism. That is, she wanted to convert until she found out that she couldn’t continue to worship Jesus and that was the end of the conversion idea. At the same time that my daughter was attending Catholic school, I was teaching at Catholic schools and it was part of our religion curriculum to teach and honour our shared past with our Jewish friends. We held Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur celebrations in our classrooms and taught the children from Grade One right through high school about the beauty of their traditions. I always felt it very fitting for us to celebrate along with our Jewish friends – after all, Jesus was a Jew and the traditions that arose out of His life and stories are based on his Jewish heritage. My favourite celebration was always the Passover Seder that I held annually for the Grade Eights that I taught. They loved it and found it very meaningful. Indeed, I would say it is also one of my daughter’s favourite traditions in our home as well, as no matter how busy we become, no matter how much the outside world tries to interfere, it is the one she always asks about, even if we have a simplified version of one. In fact, she has organized the Seder herself several years and she has her own favourite recipes for Haroset and unleavened bread. And she makes the BEST Challah I have ever tasted! So for those of you who are Jewish, I say Happy Hanukkah! For those who aren’t, I urge you to learn more about Hanukkah and other Jewish holidays and traditions. If you are a Christian, their heritage is your heritage. Even if you aren’t, the stories and the history are simply fascinating!
Now, for one of my favourite recipes – Potato Latkes!
2 cups peeled and shredded potatoes (plain old white potatoes are traditional but I prefer to use half white potatoes and half sweet potatoes…a Jewish friend of mine liked to use carrots in place of the sweet potatoes and I have recently heard of people adding things like zucchini to theirs – YUM!)
1 T. grated onion