Nathan Dishon says that he wants 'a ladybug pillow pal' for Hanukkah during preparations for the annual eight-day celebration known as the 'Festival of Lights' at the Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach, Calif., on Nov. 30. Hanukkah starts at sundown on Dec. 1 and marks the rebellion of Maccabee Jews against the Greeks in 165 BC, which some believers say included a number of miracles pointing to divine providence. Newscom
Maya Williams rolls up her sleeves and gets busy shredding potatoes for making latkes at the Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach, Calif., on Nov. 30.
Jewish men dance to celebrate Hanukkah at Manezhnaya Square in central Moscow on Dec. 1. Denis Sinyakov/Reuters
Rabbis inspect the setting up of a large menorah to celebrate Hanukkah in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Dec. 1. Tobias Schwarz/Reuters
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (second from l.) and Governor-elect Rick Scott (third from l.) hold hands with guests at the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee, Fla., on Nov. 29 for a symbolic menorah- lighting ceremony to mark the beginning of Hanukkah on Dec. 1. Bill Kaczor/AP
Two Jewish girls light the first candle of Hanukkah in Ashkelon, Israel. Rafael Ben-Ari/Newscom
An assortment of traditional wooden dreidels and gelt (candy coins) for Hanukkah are pictured. Rafael Ben-Ari/Newscom
This undated product image shows a blue 'tzedakah' (charity) box from the Jewish National Fund. Giving charity is a righteous obligation. Jewish National Fund/AP
The world's largest Hanukkah menorah stands in New York's Central Park, designed by Yaacov Agam and sponsored by the Lubavitch Youth Organization. Jewish News Services/PRNewsFoto
Russia's petroleum-dependent economy is facing a perfect storm of bad news, brought on plunging global crude prices and an ever-tightening set of Western sanctions imposed over the Kremlin's Ukraine policy. The Kremlin, which failed to diversify the economy fast enough during the fat years, now faces the urgent task of carrying out painful economic restructuring and public belt-tightening at the same time. If it doesn't, it risks losing the political and social stability that have been the hallmarks of the Vladimir Putin era.