Eight Ideas for a Geeky Hanukkah

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With the huge number of Christmas-related blog posts this time of year, including on this one, it seems only fair that on Christmas Day, since it occurs during Hanukkah this year, we have a post about geeky Hanukkah ideas. Our resident GeekMom Kathy Ceceri posted about geeky menorahs a couple of days ago, and there’s more where that came from. I’ve listed eight, for obvious reasons.

First, a good recipe for latkes, because if you’re at all like me, you’ll agree that latkes are one of the best things about Hanukkah. The recipe I’m suggesting comes from Martha Stewart, which may sound strange, but it does have beer in it, so, really, does the source matter?

Second, a video related to the book I recommended earlier this month, The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming. It’s pretty funny, especially the part showing things that are and aren’t related to Christmas.

Third, three different online dreidel games. It’s amazing how much effort people have gone to to replicate a game that involves spinning a small top with only four possible results on each spin, and I think that effort makes these inherently geeky. First is one that’s extremely basic but does allow two players. Second is one that actually uses Shockwave, so must be fairly old, but it’s pretty good. Third is a very old (the page says it requires "Netscape 2.x") Javascript game, just for the heck of it.

Fourth and fifth, two Hanukkah-related iPhone applications. These are even geekier, and cooler, than the online ones. There’s an iDreidel game app (that bounces off gelt and obeys the laws of physics) and an iMenorah app that lights the proper candles for each day (and even has melting candles and Hebrew blessings!). Each app is only $1.99.

Sixth, I just have to mention the LED menorah that GeekDad’s illustrious editor Ken Denmead blogged about last month. It’s just so perfectly geeky, and great for Hanukkah, even if the makers didn’t make it halachically correct (the lights for each day should be at the same level).

Seventh, just because being pedantic is pretty typical of geeks
(myself included), I wanted to include a piece of information that most
Jews aren’t aware of: the miracle of Hanukkah is not mentioned at all in the Books of the Maccabees! It was not until the writing of the Talmud that the miracle of the oil was written about, and that the Maccabees became less important to the story.

Eighth, another video, this one an awesomely funny Hanukkah story called "Chocolate Coins." Everyone, Jewish or not, should really watch this.

Please leave a comment if you know of any other good ones. And have a happy Hanukkah! (And a very Merry Christmas to any who celebrate it who’ve made it this far in the post.)

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