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Chanukah and Shabbot Challah Cover

Celebrate the Festival of Lights with a handmade challah cover. Children are delighted to help prepare for this holiday, which is celebrated by Jewish families around the world.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. The Jewish holiday of Chanukah, which lasts for 8 days and 8 nights, begins on the Hebrew date of 25 Kislev (which usually occurs in December or occasionally in late November). This holiday celebrates the miracle that occurred when only one day's supply of oil burned for 8 days, after enemies tried unsuccessfully to destroy the Holy Temple in ancient Jerusalem in 168 BCE. During this ancient time period, Antiochus lead a group of warriors into Jerusalem, to fight the Jewish people and destroy their Temple. In protest, a group of Jewish leaders, the Maccabees, fought the invaders. After they saved the Jewish people and the Temple, they worked hard for 3 years to repair the damage to the Temple. On the 25th of Kislev, 165 BCE, exactly 3 years after the attack, the Temple was rededicated. At the rededication only one small jar of olive oil was found, barely enough to light the menorah for one day. It was an 8 day journey to get more oil. But miraculously, the small amount of oil burned brightly in the lamp for 8 days.
    2. The Sabbath, celebrated from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday, is thought to be the most important of Jewish holidays, as the weekly reminder of miracles of creation and a time to pause from the hectic pace of daily life to rest, pray, and study Torah. Challah, a special woven egg bread, is eaten on all Jewish holidays including the weekly celebration of Shabbos. The bread is covered with a cloth, often a decorative cover, during the prayer blessing for food as Jews give thanks for "grain from the earth."
    3. To make a challah cover for this special Shabbos, the one which occurs during Chanukah, use Crayola® Fabric Crayons so the images are permanent and the cover can be washed, if necessary. First, students sketch the picture on paper using Crayola Colored Pencils. Draw pictures relating to Chanukah and Shabbot on a sheet of white paper. Designs might include a dreidel, a family celebration, or latkes (the potato pancakes cooked in oil that remind Jews of the miracle of the oil). Draw the designs in reverse so they will transfer right-side-up on fabric.
    4. Color the designs with Crayola Fabric Crayons. Press hard for intense crayon colors.
    5. Cut white synthetic (not 100% cotton) fabric, a bit larger than the design, with Crayola Scissors.
    6. On a flat surface that is safe for ironing, place several sheets of white paper on top of layers of newspaper. Place fabric on top, face up. Lay the design face down on the fabric and top with another piece of white paper.
    7. An adult sets an iron on the high (cotton) temperature, with no steam, and preheats it. The adult places the iron in one spot, presses down, then lifts and moves the iron to another spot until the entire design is transferred to the challah cover. Avoid rubbing the iron across the paper so the crayon images don't smear. Carefully remove the paper. Cool. Provide adult supervision and iron crayon in a well-ventilated area. Ironing should be done by an adult. Overheating wax crayons may release irritating fumes.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the complexity band proficiently.

    LA: Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade level topic or subject area.

    LA: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

    LA: Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to the situation.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.

    SS: Identify and describe ways family, groups, and community influence the individual's daily life and personal choices.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

    VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.

  • Adaptations

    Students re-enact the history of the Maccabees triumphing over the invaders in 168 BCE and repairing the damaged Temple.

    Students draw a menorah. One candle is lit for each night of Chanukah and the Shamos, or helper candle, creating a total of 9 candles on the menorah. Lights on the menorah are added right to left, but are lit from left to right. The Chanukah song, Ma’Oz Tzur, is typically sung after the lighting of the menorah. Students investigate the lyrics of this tune and practice it. A music teacher may assist with this.

    Students look for recipes for latkes, or doughnuts. These should be brought to the classroom and shared. If possible, students may wish to make the latke recipes and have classmates try them.

    As a class center, students play with dreidels and learn the four Hebrew letters that are painted on them. It is played with chocolate coin-shaped candies, called gelt. It is customary to exchange gifts on Chanukah and give charity to the needy.


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