A famous rabbi once said that "A little light dispels much darkness." On a Jewish holiday like Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah and Ḥanukah), which commemorates the Maccabean victory over the oppressive Seleucid Empire and the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, this statement couldn't be any more meaningful.
Celebrated for eight nights and days, starting on December 2, in 2018, the holiday will see observant Jews lighting the candles of the menorah or nine-branched candelabrum; playing the dreidel, a four-sided spinning top; and eating great traditional kosher dishes -- deep-fried foods like potato pancakes (latkes) and jelly donuts (sufganiyot).
If you don't know the first thing about Hanukkah or need a refresher, you've come to the right place. Here are eight Hanukkah apps to help you make the most of this magical Jewish holiday.
1. Chanukah Guide - Jewish Holiday Season App
Jews light the menorah on Hanukkah to remember how after the Hellenistic Greek king Antiochus IV Epiphanes and his forces were ejected from the Temple, the only usable oil meant to keep the menorah in the Temple lit for one day ended up lasting for eight, till new oil was pressed and prepared.
Users can light a virtual menorah on Hanukkah with the Chanukah Guide - Jewish Holiday Season App (Android, iOS). This all-in-one Hanukkah mobile app also enables you to play the dreidel or four-sided spinning top that Jewish kids played in ancient times so they wouldn't be harassed for practicing their religion when the Greek soldiers barged into their homes; read Hanukkah prayers in Hebrew, English, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, and French; and even learn about the Jewish holiday.
2. Chai on Chanukah
The top-rated Chai on Chanukah (iOS) educational app helps parents teach their kids about the miracle of Hannukah in a fun, interactive way using a swipe-to-spin dreidel, a menorah to light with a tap, games, rhymes, all the relevant blessings, and, of course, the story of Hanukkah, complete with an interactive holiday table and orchestral soundtrack.
3. Hanukkah story, Hebrew songs music, Jewish holidays prayers trivia, kids Dreidel game Judaism
The Hanukkah story, Hebrew songs music, Jewish holidays prayers trivia, kids Dreidel game Judaism (iOS) app is another all-in-one app that helps people experience the wonders of Hanukkah with an easy dreidel game, interactive storybook, relevant prayers guide in English and Hebrew, Hanukkah-themed karaoke, and trivia.
4. Menorah - Chanukah - חנוכה
The Menorah - Chanukah - חנוכה (Android, iOS) app will instruct you on the number of candles to light each night of Hanukkah and in which direction to light. It also has the accompanying prayers and songs in Hebrew, English, and transliterated, as well as in audio form.
5. Jewish Pocket Prayers
If you don't own a siddur or Jewish prayer book, you'll be glad to know that the iOS app, Jewish Pocket Prayers (iOS), offers English and transliterated Jewish prayers for Hanukkah and every day of the year along with rules, instructional videos, and kosher recipes.
Android app Daily Jewish Prayers (Android) provides prayers in English, Hebrew, and transliterated text. You'll also get Jewish laws and customs, local prayer times, and even audio recordings of the blessings and some prayers from a real-life cantor.
6. iGevalt - AR Dreidel
Even if you don't have your own dreidel, you can still give one a spin with the iGevalt - AR Dreidel (iOS) app, an augmented reality dreidel simulator. Just hold your phone or tablet over a flat textured surface to make the dreidel appear and then swipe your finger to spin. When it lands, a pop-up will appear that shows you what side and corresponding letter it landed on. You'll feel like a kid again, playing with other kids, thanks to the sounds of real kids playing in the background.
Food plays a major role in most Jewish celebrations, and Hanukkah is no different. On the holiday, celebrants are encouraged to eat deep-fried foods like potato pancakes and jelly donuts to symbolize the oil that lasted for eight days and dairy dishes to commemorate Judith's heroism during the Maccabean revolt against Syrian oppression. Chowhound (Web) has both traditional kosher recipes and more innovative takes, such as Radicchio, Apple, and Squash Tempura; Chocolate Babka Pie; and a Kale and Roasted Red Pepper Frittata. For those who already miss their meat just reading this, Chowhound also offers easy brisket recipes.
8. Shalomoji - Jewish Emojis
The Shalomoji - Jewish Emojis (iOS) app lets you send Jewish-themed emojis, emoticons, stickers, GIFs, and phrases for Hanukkah -- or any Jewish holiday -- using your preferred messaging method, with a simple copy and paste. You can always get creative with your choices, but a simple Happy Hanukkah will do.
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