Last night we joined friends, Jewish and non-Jewish, in lighting Chanukah candles. Chanukah is a grand anti-imperial festival, the celebration of the revolt in B.C.E. 165 of ancient Hebrew people, led by the Maccabees, against Syrian overlords. Tradition says that after the successful insurrection only one small jar of sacred oil remained for reconsecrating the temple. This oil miraculously burned for eight nights, hence the eight nights of Chanukah candles.
Potato pancakes, latkes, fried in oil, are a traditional food at Chanukah celebrations, the oilier the better, most think. My feminist friends always insist on singing this song so that we are reminded of the women who stood behind those valiant Maccabees:
An army moves on its stomach and somebody does the cooking.