It's the first night of Hanukkah! The holiday is defined per Wikipedia as "a Jewish festival commemorating the recovery of Jerusalem and subsequent rededication of the Second Temple at the beginning of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century BCE."
Latkes and Schmaltz Oh My!
For me, the holiday evokes many memories. Growing up in an Ashkenazi Jewish family in New York meant that we ate potato latkes (pancakes) until we burst. My grandmother made the absolute best old world latkes and I miss them. As good a cook as I try to be, I'll never be able to replicate them in my kitchen. They're best served crispy with a side of applesauce and sour cream.
Latkes go back to the Middle Ages, and were originally made with primitive cheese. The arrival of the potato to Eastern Europe in the 19th century was a game changer, and forever solidified latkes as we know them. At that time they were cooked in schmaltz, or rendered poultry fat. Don't say gross, schmaltz is literally liquid gold. I'd put that stuff on everything if I could. During Hanukkah, latkes are prepared to commemorate the miracle of the oil in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem lasting eight days.
If you'd like to make latkes at home, here's an awesome guide and recipe from the What Jew Wanna Eat blog.
How to Celebrate in Oneonta, New York
If you'd like to celebrate Hanukkah in Oneonta, you're in luck. Chabad of Oneonta is hosting two public menorah lightings. The first one will take place on the SUNY Oneonta campus on Thursday, December 7th at 5:30 pm at Hunt Union. The second will happen at Muller Plaza in downtown Oneonta on Sunday December 10th at 5:30 pm, and will feature donuts, latkes, music, and giveaways. Both are open to the public and all are welcome.
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Gallery Credit: Joe DiVita, Loudwire