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Ahaba Beta'nugim - Hanukkah

Performed by Rabbi Ira Rohde

Have you heard our Hanukkah "waffles song"?  This is not only a favorite, but a special tradition.  In this recording, Rabbi Ira Rohde excerpted the part devoted to Hanukkah from a poem by Moshe de Yehuda Piza (1737-1808) depicting the different kinds of holiday foods of Amsterdam. In accordance with universal Jewish custom to eat forms of pancakes (made with oil, in remembrance of the miracle of the oil) on Hanukkah, the tradition of Amsterdam was to eat vaffele (Belgian waffles) on Hanukkah because God made a "miracle and wonder" (Hebrew: "nes va-fele") during these days. 

Amsterdam traditions are rooted in our New York congregation's Colonial New Amsterdam heritage, and were constantly being renewed by the hazanim (cantors) from Amsterdam who served in New York through modern times, such as Rev. Abraham Lopes Cardozo, who brought this song with him and published it in his book "Sephardic Songs of Praise" (Tara Music Publications, 1987). The children of Shearith Israel especially love using the waffle iron ("barzel" is the Hebrew word for "iron" used in the song) to make the Belgian (or Dutch, since in Colonial times Belgium was part of the Netherlands) waffles every Hanukkah. Here, Rabbi Rohde sings for them.


Synagogue tradition associates this Hanukkah lamp with the First Mill Street Synagogue of 1730.

Benjamin N. Cardozo

Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Nathan Cardozo spoke of the need for the Congregation to maintain its historic traditions and to remain true to the customs and practices of the generations that had come before.