Chanukah and Shabbot Challah Cover

Chanukah and Shabbot Challah Cover lesson plan

Celebrate the Festival of Lights with a handmade challah cover. Children are delighted to help prepare for this holiday, which is celebrated by Jewish families around the world.

  • 1.

    The Jewish holiday of Chanukah, which lasts for 8 days and 8 nights, begins on the Hebrew date of 25 Kislev (which usually occurs in December or occasionally in late November). This holiday celebrates the miracle that occurred when only one day's supply of oil burned for 8 days, after enemies tried unsuccessfully to destroy the Holy Temple in ancient Jerusalem in 168 BCE. During this ancient time period, Antiochus lead a group of warriors into Jerusalem, to fight the Jewish people and destroy their Temple. In protest, a group of Jewish leaders, the Maccabees, fought the invaders. After they saved the Jewish people and the Temple, they worked hard for 3 years to repair the damage to the Temple. On the 25th of Kislev, 165 BCE, exactly 3 years after the attack, the Temple was rededicated. At the rededication only one small jar of olive oil was found, barely enough to light the menorah for one day. It was an 8 day journey to get more oil. But miraculously, the small amount of oil burned brightly in the lamp for 8 days.

  • 2.

    The Sabbath, celebrated from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday, is thought to be the most important of Jewish holidays, as the weekly reminder of miracles of creation and a time to pause from the hectic pace of daily life to rest, pray, and study Torah. Challah, a special woven egg bread, is eaten on all Jewish holidays including the weekly celebration of Shabbos. The bread is covered with a cloth, often a decorative cover, during the prayer blessing for food as Jews give thanks for "grain from the earth."

  • 3.

    To make a challah cover for this special Shabbos, the one which occurs during Chanukah, use Crayola® Fabric Crayons so the images are permanent and the cover can be washed, if necessary. First, sketch the picture on paper using Crayola Colored Pencils. Draw pictures relating to Chanukah and Shabbot on a sheet of white paper. Designs might include a dreidel, a family celebration, or latkes (the potato pancakes cooked in oil that remind Jews of the miracle of the oil). Draw the designs in reverse so they will transfer right-side-up on fabric.

  • 4.

    Color the designs with Crayola Fabric Crayons. Press hard for intense crayon colors.

  • 5.

    Cut white synthetic (not 100% cotton) fabric, a bit larger than the design, with Crayola Scissors.

  • 6.

    On a flat surface that is safe for ironing, place several sheets of white paper on top of layers of newspaper. Place fabric on top, face up. Lay the design face down on the fabric and top with another piece of white paper.

  • 7.

    An adult sets an iron on the high (cotton) temperature, with no steam, and preheats it. The adult places the iron in one spot, presses down, then lifts and moves the iron to another spot until the entire design is transferred to the challah cover. Avoid r


  • Children research the meaning and traditions of two Hebrew holidays: Chanukah, also known as The Festival of Lights, and Shabbot.
  • Students design an original fabric challah cover, which can be used during the food blessing, before eating on Shabbot.


  • Students re-enact the history of the Maccabees triumphing over the invaders in 168 BCE and repairing the damaged Temple.
  • Draw a menorah. One candle is lit for each night of Chanukah and the Shamos, helper candle, makes 9 candles on the menorah. Lights on menorah are added right to left, but are lit from left to right. Learn the "Ma'oz Tzur," a song sung after the lights of
  • Make latkes or doughnuts. These traditional foods are eaten at Chanukah to recognize the importance of oil to this holiday.
  • Play with dreidels and learn the four Hebrew letters on them. It is played with chocolate coin shaped candies, called gelt. Winners enjoy eating this candy. It is customary to exchange gifts on Chanukah and give charity to the needy.