Hanukkah 2020

Happy Hanukkah!

No matter how you spell it, Hanukkah or Chanukah, is an annual holiday known as the Festival of Lights which commemorates a miracle that occurred in Jerusalem.

In 165 BCE the Jewish people revolted against their oppressors, and rededicated a sacred temple to mark the occasion. According to the Talmud (the central text of Jewish theology), after the temple was cleaned, olive oil was needed to fuel the light of the menorah (candelabrum). Though there was only enough oil to burn for one day, the oil lasted eight full days. On Hanukkah, Jewish people celebrate what is considered to be a great miracle that occurred, and the religious freedom it represents.

When is Hanukkah?
On the Hebrew calendar, Hanukkah is celebrated on the 25 of Kislev, and continues for eight days in honor of the oil that lasted in the Holy Temple. The name “Hanukkah” means “dedication” in Hebrew. This year Hanukkah takes place from Sunset on December 10th, 2020 until Nightfall on December 18th, 2020

How is Hanukkah celebrated?
Unlike some other Jewish holidays where work is forbidden, there are no restrictions on doing work during Hanukkah. On each day, Jews light candles on a chanukiah (a nine-branched candelabrum called a menorah), starting with one candle and adding one more each day. The candle used to light the other candles is known as the shamash. Blessings over the candles are chanted and festive songs are sung, commemorating the occasion. Children (and adults) also play a game called dreidel, and it is customary to give Hanukkah gelt (money or chocolate coins) as small gifts.

What kinds of foods are eaten on Hanukkah?
During Hanukkah many Jewish people eat food that is deep fried, another tasty reminder of the miracle of the oil. A classic Hanukkah dish is crispy potato pancakes called latkes in Yiddish and levivot in Hebrew, often served with applesauce and sour cream. Another delicious Hanukkah treat is sufganiyot (jelly-filled donuts), usually topped with powdered sugar. Sephardic Hanukkah donuts are called bunuelos, and are traditionally dipped in honey.

What is the proper greeting for Hanukkah?
To wish someone a Happy Hanukkah, say “Hanukkah Sameach!” (Happy Hanukkah) or simply “Chag Sameach!” (Happy Holiday), “Chag Urim Sameach!” (urim means “lights”).

West End Celebrations
This year Gordon Neighbourhood is celebrating Hanukkah virtually with West End Neighbours and the Jewish Seniors Alliance! Join us online for Chanukah music and candle lighting on Thursday, December 10th from 6:30pm to 7:30pm 

Registration is required to participate. Gordon Neighbourhood House has a limited quantity of gift bags with Chanukah candles and other holiday treats for those who register before December 7th. Email welcome@gordonhouse.org or call (604) 683-2554 to sign-up.

Gordon Neighbourhood House chef Amanda Bacaleinick has also prepared a special Hanukkah-inspired meal which is included in our weekly delivery to local seniors. 

Several West End restaurants and bakeries prepare traditional treats for Hanukkah. We have compiled a list of several businesses below. For more updates, contests, and promotions from local businesses, follow our friends at The West End Business Improvement Association (WEBIA) online. 

Breka Bakery, 821 Denman Street

Find an assortment of traditional Jewish treats at Breka Bakery, including loaves of challah (braided bread), kifeles or kuffles (crescent-shaped pastries wrapped around cream cheese fillings and dusted with cinnamon and sugar), and sufganiyot (jelly-filled donuts).

Ofra’s Kitchen, 1088 Denman Street

Ofra’s Kitchen is a vegetarian/vegan restaurant located in the West End. The restaurant specializes in authentic, healthy, middle eastern dishes with an Israeli flair. Their menu includes hummus plates, falafel, shakshuka. Ofra’s kitchen is inclusive and welcoming to all.

Diwali Lanterns

Diwali is the Festival of Lights that has been celebrated across India for hundreds of years. It takes place on November 14th and celebrations continue for five days. Lanterns, lights, and rangoli designs are used to decorate homes and businesses. Diwali is India’s biggest holiday of the year and symbolizes the spiritual inner light overcoming and protecting from darkness. These days Diwali is celebrated in many parts of the world.

The kids in our Out of School Care program had a lot of fun this week learning to craft these colourful lanterns and using them to decorate around the building at Gordon House.

We wanted to share with our community this YouTube video that provides an easy guide for creating your own Diwali lanterns at home using basic materials. This activity is perfect for anyone looking for a creative outlet while social distancing at home this weekend. Please send us pictures of the results!

Farmers Market Nutrition Coupon Program

At Gordon Neighbourhood House, we are currently wrapping up our Farmers Market Nutrition Coupon Program (FMNCP for the year. This is an initiative to provide local, fresh produce to community members and support local growers in BC. The BC Association of Farmers Markets (BCAFM) collaborates with community organizations and is supported by the Province of BC & the Provincial Health Services Authority. Those who receive coupons are able to use it at any BCAFM member farmers’ markets that take part in FMNCP to purchase fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat, nuts, dairy, fish, and herbs.

This year, Gordon Neighbourhood House was able to help support 53 West End residents, families and seniors with approximately $10,000 in coupons! We adapted to COVID-19 by pivoting coupon distribution through mail or staggered pick-ups. We also made sure to check in on our participants and sent online resources and program information throughout the season. We love that we are able to give our community access to and the ability to connect with our local food system. Especially during this difficult time, focusing on supporting smaller local businesses and growers is what empowers consumers and producers with healthy, nutritious food.

We wanted to share the impact that this program had on our community members with the following pictures and quotes from participants. Overall, we got amazing feedback and people were extremely grateful for this supportive initiative during a difficult and challenging year. 

“We have enjoyed getting all the organic delicious fruit and vegetables as well as eggs and fish.  My husband and I cook all of our meals and having all the produce from the market definitely kicks it up. We look forward to going to the market each week thanks to the coupon program.”   

“I am beyond grateful to have access to the Farmers Market Coupon’s for 2020. With the crazy year that we are experiencing, everything seems to be so much more expensive! These coupons certainly do help, I enjoy being able to purchase fresh B.C. fruit and veggies.”

“Thanks again, we have really loved the market and made the most of this year despite the restrictions. And thanks also so much for the bonus grocery store gift cards. That was extremely helpful to our low-income household during this challenging time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts 😊💚

We would like to share a warm thank you to everyone for their resilience and support, including our community and the BC Farmers Market Association.

Quick Pickling Recipe

This recipe is quick pickling, not fermentation! So, this recipe is less technical and will last about 2-3 weeks in the fridge. This recipe is great to use to increase the longevity of your veggies. It is also great for your gut health as it provides a source of probiotics. You can be creative with what you pickle, so you can use onions, jalapeños, cucumbers and more in place of the cabbage. These can be used in many versatile dishes to add a freshness to, including salads, tacos, bowls, and as a side dish.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • glass jar with a tight lid (ie. Mason jar, old jam jar)

If you have more cabbage, feel free to use it all and just use the ratio of cabbage to vinegar, making sure that the cabbage is fully covered once it’s in the jar.


  1. Thinly slice the cabbage using a knife carefully or a mandolin.
  2. In a mason jar, add all of the ingredients and cover with a lid then give it a shake. Make sure that all of the cabbage is completely covered with liquid, if it’s not then add more vinegar.
  3. Let it sit for 1-2 hours at room temperature.
  4. Refrigerate for 2-3 weeks.

Herb Oil Cubes Recipe

by Stephanie

Do you have leftover herbs in your house that are wilting? Or want to prevent the herbs from going bad? Make some quick and super easy herb oil cubes!

What you’ll need:

  • ice cube tray
  • fresh herbs
  • liquid oil (ie. olive oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil, sunflower oil)


  1. Chop up all of your herbs (including stems) or leave in larger sprigs & stems, then fill the ice cube compartments 2/3 full with herbs.
  2. Top it with your oil to fully cover, then pop it into the freezer
  3. Now you have an herb oil that is ready to use whenever you want to cook, just put it onto the frying pan or pot!

Preventing Food Waste At Home

In Canada, almost 60% of our food that is produced every year gets wasted. Of that 60%, 40% of it comes from consumers. The food that gets wasted and ends up in landfills start to produce methane gas, which is a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent that CO2. This is important to note as it is a huge contributor to climate change. A great way for us to prevent this from happening is to think of alternative ways of storing our food or being creative with food that is about to go bad. Not only will this help with the environmental impacts, it will help us save money so we are able to use every bit of produce that we buy. The most common type of food that is wasted is produce, this is something that we can address by prolonging their shelf life through proper storage or making it into tasty recipes! Visit our recipe archives to find recipes on herb oil cubes, quick pickling, and pesto. You can also find our recipe for homemade vegetable stock, which helps use safe and edible food scraps and all its flavour before it is fully composted.  


Leafy Greens: When you purchase any leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, lettuce, you’ll want to wrap the bunch fully in a moist tea towel or cloth. If you have a box of spinach, you can place a damp tea towel on top of the bed of spinach. This technique will help the leaves keep in its moisture so it doesn’t wilt as easily and last longer in your fridge.

Herbs: When you buy herbs, you can immediately put them in a jar or cup that is filled with 1-2 inches of water at the bottom, just like you would with flowers! This can also be done with spring onions, celery and asparagus. Remember to change the water every 1-3 days.