Dakota Datebook

Hanukkah in Devils Lake

Monday, December 20, 2004

Today is the first day of Hanukkah, a holiday celebrated by a substantial number of Jewish homesteaders near Devils Lake in the early 1900s. Rachel Calof later wrote in her autobiography:

“Our home became the center for all the Jewish holiday celebrations. Jewish farmers came from far and near…some traveling for days by horse and buggy and by horseback. These were wonderful and festive events. Everyone stayed for as long as the holiday lasted. We put up tents for the visiting children’s sleeping quarters, and in the house, sleepers occupied all the chairs and covered the floors.

“…guests (were) so numerous…that Abe (devised) an apparatus to ease the distribution of food at meal times. He drove an iron shaft into the center of the table, which acted as an axle upon which revolved a huge wagon wheel covered with a board face… During meals, the wheel was always in motion, and one needed only to wait a moment or two to find the desired food before him.”

Happy Hanukkah from Dakota Datebook.

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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