The good oil

December 17, 2014 by Sabina Baunin
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The traditional art of olive making has been taught to young primary school children as they learn more about Chanukah.

A group of emanuel school students look on as Yaakov Deitsch explains the tradition of olive oil making.

A group of Emanuel school students look on as Yaakov Deitsch explains the tradition of olive oil making.

‘It was a nice experience for them to see from the beginning to end how olives are made into oil’ said the director for Chabad Youth in NSW, Rabbi Elimelech Levy.

These children were granted with the chance to use a traditional press that converts the olives into oil.

In this process, the olives were traditionally crushed under giant stone rollers. Today the olive press does the process in a much cleaner way. The crushed olives are normally stirred in a process called ‘malaxing’, which draws out the oil from the microscopic vacuoles. The third process applies another form of pressure and finally draws out the oil from the olive paste and here the oil is finally created.

Through this ancient art the children had the chance to experience the history and symbolism behind the use of oil and what it means in the season of Chanukah. In this workshop the students used the oil they had pressed themselves to light menorahs which they had also had the chance to make.

Rabbi Levy spoke of the importance behind the symbolism of olive oil making. Chanukah commemorates a miracle that occurred more than 2000 years ago, where the Jewish people reclaimed Jerusalem’s Holy Temple.

As the story is often told, the oil used at the time was supposed to burn for only one day, but miraculously lasted for eight days instead.

‘The oil miracle is what we celebrate today with the lighting of the menorah’. Rabbi Levy said. ‘It was an opportunity to talk about the Chanukah story and ask questions.’

It also seems like an interesting way to bring informal education into the formality of the classroom setting by shaking up the routine in an engaging yet traditional way.

‘The traditional way of learning and studying is in a classroom format, which is essential. It’s always good to be able to complement that with various informal streams of education’. Rabbi Levy concluded.

The workshops are being run by the Chabad Youth and Sydney Yeshiva schluchim Chabad youth NSW schluchim Yaakov Deitsch and Mendy Ezicovics.

 

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