New Mexico’s Jewish community is celebrating Hanukkah this week, in much the same way as other Jewish communities around the world. The holiday commemorates a rededication of their Temple after the first time that Jews had ever fought in battle to preserve their religious liberties in 165 BC. They needed oil to re-light the lamp, and after the attack only found enough to burn for one day. Miraculously, the tiny bit of oil lasted for eight days, until new supplies arrived and the Temple was restored.
The miracle of the oil is symbolized in Jewish homes by the lighting of the menorah with eight lights, starting with one light and each night one more is lit. The miracle of the oil is remembered in the kitchen as well, and it is traditional to eat foods fried in oil at this time.
The all time favorite is the traditional potato latke, which is a savory potato pancake. Here is how to make your own latkes to try at home, and enjoy them served as a side dish, traditionally served with apple sauce and/or sour cream. Highly recommended: some green or red chile on top!