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Marissa Jaret Winokur's Hanukkah at Home

12/19/2009 at 02:00 PM ET

Ray Kachatorian for PEOPLE for use on CBB

When Marissa Jaret Winokur recalls her favorite childhood Hanukkah memories, “it was never about presents,” says the actress, 36. “It was about family.”

She’s set on making it the same for Zev Isaac, her 17-month-old son with her husband, writer Judah Miller.

Since Zev joined the brood, “we celebrate Hanukkah with renewed vigor,” says Marissa, who hosted her family’s festivities for the first time in her L.A. home this year.

“Zev will learn a lot of the religious, meaningful things from his dad — and the lighter side from me.”

Take Mom’s high-stakes dreidel game, in which her parents and three siblings up the ante with candy. “We play dreidel like poker!”

Just don’t ask Marissa to make latkes — a holiday must she has yet to master. “I’m good at eating them, not making them. Zev will have his first latkes this year!”

Source: PEOPLE, Holiday issue

– Monica Rizzo

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Showing 29 comments

Vicki on

Wow those Hanukkah candles look so beautiful! As for the latke making I too am yet to master the art :)

Chris on

She always looks so happy. Little Zev is so cute.

mrsh on

That’s a very pretty Menorah. I always like reading her interviews, she has a lovely personality!

Lex on

I don’t know if everyone will be able to see this – but Zev is an EXACT clone of his mama. He is so adorable

This is Marissa and her sister when they were really young:
http://photos-a.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v2691/197/66/1099782692/n1099782692_367534_7518130.jpg

Lex on

And Marissa is the one on the left, if you couldn’t tell.

Jessicad on

She truly seems like she’s always in a good mood and has that genuine smile! What a cute family.

Kat on

I love Marissa’s smile… I’m sure it’s what drew her hubby to fall in love with her… I wish I had such a big smile.

Those candles are beautiful and Zev will be so fortunate to grow up in a family with that wonderful mixture of traditional values and fun family togetherness.

CelebBabyLover on

Lex- Wow, Zev IS a mini-Marissa! :)

Joy on

Aww! He is sooo cute! Seems like yesterday he was born…

Francois on

I always like listening to her interviewed. What a beautiful menorah.

Sophie on

Wow Zev really is a mini clone of his mummy- so cute!

Don’t like Latkes much, I much prefer eating doughnuts on Chanukah.

Elizabeth on

Aw, what a cute picture! She’s such a likable person.

Cece on

In this Christmas rush, sometimes we forget there are also eight days of Chanukah. Thanks for including this sweet photo into the CBB holiday pics!

noam on

what a cute family. and maybe this can be cleared up for me by those who celebrate/ know a bit more about chanukah (and i’m not trying to be critical or nitpicky, i’m just genuinely curious)– i had always been under the impression that the menorah candles were different symbolic colors, but this menorah has all blue candles. just wondering…

mrsh on

noam – There is no traditional color for Chanukah candles, so pretty much anything goes. You may be thinking of Kwanzaa candles, which I believe are supposed to be red, green and black.

Allison on

noam-you are mixing hanukkah up with kwanza. no symbolic colored candles for hanukkah.

Mia on

Zev is adorable! I always thought he looked a lot like his dad, but he is definitely more mommy. I also agree-Marisa has a gorgeous smile! A very bright/warm smile, like Angelina Jolie.

Simone on

Me being the always looking for new recipes to try i looked up the latkes and what can i say we eat them over here in Germany all year they are called Kartoffelpuffer and apple sauce is what you serve with them here too :-)

They are a cute family and I also love the candles!

Rachel-Jane on

Noam, the colours of Advent candles are different colours too. 2 purple, 1 pink and 1 white.

Zev looks exactly like his mum, how cute!

Bailey on

She has such a gorgeous family and her smile could light up a room!!!!! I wish I had such a nice, likeable smile. They always seem so happy. Zev is too cute!!! I really like the shirt he’s wearing here.

Christina on

How beautiful! I love this family so much, I am always so happy to see them here on CBB. I love how intently Zev is watching his Daddy light the candles in the menorah! What a precious moment captured!

Nikki on

I’m sorry, but what is Hanukkah? I’m Brazilian and we don’t have this tradition here and I really want to know what is this.

g!na on

Lex- He definitely looks like mommy! what a resemblence! soo cute ♥

CelebBabyLover on

Nikki- It’s a Jewish holiday. :)

Rachel-Jane- Advent candles DO have traditional colors, but not like you mentioned. Traditionally, advent candles are three purple and one pink, not two purple, one pink, and one white.

The candle colors come from years ago when Advent was celebrated similar to the way Christians today celebrate Lent: As a very “dark” time, which is what the three purple candles symbolize. The pink candle is traditionally the third candle lit (i.e. the one lit for the first time when three are lit on the third Sunday of Advent), and it symbolizes the fact that the third Sunday in Advent used to be a break from all the “darkness”.

Unlike the other three Sundays, that Sunday was traditional very “light” and joyous. My father is a minister, hence why I know all this advent history! :)

Jane on

aww! Zev is adorable. I love his chunky cheeks.

Christina on

@CelebBabyLover, Advent candle colors do vary from denomination to denomination, and sometimes even within the same denomination. For example, the Lutheran church in our town uses 3 Purple, 1 Pink (the Joy candle) AND 1 White in the middle (The Christ Candle, lit on Christmas Day to symbolize that Christ is the light of the world). but The Disciples of Christ Church in our town uses 2 purple, 2 pink and 1 white. The Presbyterian church in our town used to use 3 purple and 1 pink and now they use 2 purple, 2 pink and 1 white with the installation of a new minister a few years ago, who brought her own traditions with her from the congregation she grew up in.

CelebBabyLover on

Christina- I am Lutheran, and we do indeed use a white “Christ Candle” in the middle for Christmas Eve/Day. I don’t count that as an actual advent candle, though. Rather, it is the “Christmas candle”. :)

Shannon on

She seems like she has such a bubbly personality

Wish her all of the best

Rachel-Jane on

CelebBabyLover, I appreciate this is a bit late and you won’t read it, but I’m Roman Catholic and in my church we use 2 purple, 1 pink and 1 white. So it seems that I’m not wrong but that they vary from denomination to denomination.

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