When the eight days of Hanukkah are over, a total of 44 candles will have been lit to celebrate the Jewish holiday.

ďItís a time of great joy, especially for children. Itís a time for family and friends. Gifts are not a major aspect,Ē said Susan Weintrab, Addlestone Hebrew Academyís head of school.

Addlestone hosted its annual Special Personís Day on Friday where students brought their loved ones to spend the school day with them and celebrate Hanukkah.

Allston Schwartz visited her second-grade son, Griffin, where she decorated cookies with him in his classroom.

ďI came out because I love him. I want to support what he does in school and celebrate the holiday,Ē Schwartz said.

Weintrab said Hanukkah is the celebration of the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem that was desecrated by the Greeks. When the Jews reclaimed their temple, they lit the seven-branched candelabrum, which they did not think would last because they only had enough oil for one day. The miracle was that the candelabrum lasted eight days, which was enough time for them to make more.

During Special Personís Day the pre-K students sang holiday songs in the morning. The older students brought their friends and families together that afternoon for activities and games in their classrooms like matching ancient coins, telling stories and making crafts.

At the end of the day, everyone came together for trivia on Jewish history and culture led by the students. Afterward they all joined together to sing holiday songs.

Weintrab said that although Hanukkah is an important holiday, there are a few misconceptions about it.

ďOther holidays are more central, like Passover. It has nothing to do with Christmas,Ē she said.

She said that one of the holidayís most important icons, the dreidel, is more than a fun game. She said when the Jews were prevented from worshiping, they would pretend to play games with the dreidel, when actually the words on it were a way to learn.

Hanukkah is Dec. 8-16. Weintrab said that during this time the school will celebrate by lighting the menorah, making latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jam filled doughnuts) and learning more about Jewish history.

Reach Jade McDuffie at 937-5560 or jmcduffie@postandcourier.com.