Hanukkah can easily be celebrated without harming animals. For starters, consider the customary food. From from potato latkes and sour cream to doughnuts, there are vegan recipes for every traditional Hanukkah dish both online and in cookbooks. A very helpful cookbook to get is Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas, which devotes 60 pages of recipes specifically to Jewish holidays. Zel Allen’s Vegan for the Holidays is another excellent choice, with 20 pages of Hanukkah recipes.
Once the recipes are covered, the next hurdle to clear is the lighting of the menora. Some hanukkah candles are made from beeswax, which is not vegan. Instead, find candles that are made from vegetable wax, such as GoodLight Natural Candles that were sold at Whole Foods this year.
Finally, no Hanukkah would be complete without a game of dreidel. The currency traditionally used in this game is called gelt, which are chocolate coins wrapped in gold or silver colored foil. Most gelt is made with milk chocolate but vegan gelt is easy to find—just look for the dark chocolate coins with the “parve” label, a kosher classification which indicates that they are dairy-free. In late 2014 Lulu’s started producing excellent vegan chocolate coins made from their super-premium dark chocolate.
Once your recipe, menorah, and gelt needs are taken care of, that leaves only gifts. Check out our vegan holiday gift guide to find the perfect Hanukkah present for your favorite vegan.