Chanukah Dreidels and Christmas Dirt Plus Recipe for Traditional Chanukah Donuts

By Amber Weigand-Buckley  @barefacedgirl in Leading Hearts Magazine


It was the third day of Chanukah and I was in Israel for the very first time standing in the city of Nazareth. We had made our way past the shopkeepers and traffic lined streets to the Church of the Annunciation, which sits in the side of the hill of the city. The church was supposedly built on the spot where Mary was visited by the angel announcing her as the highly favored woman to give birth to Jesus Christ.

“Emmanuel: God with us.” In that spot, I understood the power in that statement—the power in that name.

Under the church, you can see the excavated remains of the old city…

soon I began to imagine Jesus as a little boy as he grew spent his day helping Joseph in the carpentry shop, learning at Synagogue and playing in the streets. Even then, I wonder when or if his mother had informed him of his weighty “Savior of the World” title.

Our guide from the Israel Ministry of Tourism, Tzion Ben David, took time to explain to the journalists on our tour some of the symbols and traditions connected with Chanukah in the place where it all began.—a true an immersion experience. I learned that in the celebration of Chanukah the Jewish people have a saying “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham.”

The phrase translates, “A great miracle happened there.” An acronym of this is inscribed on the dreidel game, (but changed to say “a great miracle happened here.”). Because the Greek-Syrians outlawed Jews from learning the Torah, the Jews used the game to hide their studies.

Chanukah commemorates the great miracle of one day of oil light in the Golden Menorah lasting for eight days which gave light to the Jewish people who were in the middle of a heated battle with the Greeks. On the eighth day, the Jews defeated their great foe. As I sailed across the Sea of Galilee, walked the streets of Capernaum, and ran my hand across the temple steps it all came together: this wasn’t an isolated incident for God’s chosen people.

From Nazareth to Bethlehem, to the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum, all the way to Jerusalem to the most distant reaches of the holiest of lands—every rock had a miraculous story of provision and triumph to tell. The greatest miracle that ever was is represented in 10,840 square miles of the globe—a bit larger than the state of Maryland. A little bit larger space than the average size dreidel, but it packs a load of meaning all the same. “A great miracle happened here.”

Within the mix of Chanukah dreidels and Christmas dirt, my soul bears witness to the greatest miracle that ever happened in the Promised Land. I will walk in reverent obedience, selfless love and set my mission on being proclaiming Christ’s saving grace and love wherever I find my feet.

Note: In special memory of my beautiful friend and fellow AWSA Pamela Sonnenmoser, (a.k.a. Martha). I’m so glad you were able to come on this Press Tour with me before you relocated to Heaven. I miss you.

Sufganiyot – Traditional Israeli Jelly Donuts for Chanukah

As today at sundown marks the beginning of Chanukah I wanted to share a recipe for traditional Chanukah donuts aka “Sufganiyot” I love from Spark Recipes.

∙ Serves 12
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp Margarine
  • 3 tbsp Strawberry preserves
Baking & Spices
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon, ground
  • 2 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 4 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Sugar
  • 1 package Yeast, dry
Oils & Vinegars
  • 1 Oil
  • 3/4 cup Water

    Mix yeast, 2 tbs sugar and water. Allow to sit until yeast bubbles.

    Combine flour with remaining sugar, salt, cinnamon, and egg yolks and the yeast mixture. Knead until it forms a ball. Add margarine. Knead until well combined. Cover with a towel and allow to rise 30 – 60 minutes, until about doubled.

    (note: if preferred, it may be allowed to rise overnight in the refrigerator)

    Roll out dough to about 1/8 inch.

    Cut into 24 rounds, about 2 inches in diameter ( a biscuit cutter works well). Place 1/2 tsp jelly in center of each of 12 rounds. Moisten edge with water; top with second round. Crimp tightly.

    Allow to rise again, about 30 minutes.

    Heat 2 inches of oil to about 375. Drop sufganiyot in, a few at a time, cook until browned on one side, flip over, and cook the second side.

    Remove from oil, drain on paper towels, and roll in sugar.

    If the oil is very hot they do NOT absorb a lot.

    VERY yummy!

    Chag Sameach!

    Number of Servings: 12

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