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American Sign Language: "Hanukah"

The sign for "Hanukah" has several variations (just as the English word "Hanukah" has several different spelling variations: Hanukkah, Hanukah, and Chanukah. (See:

Someone might try to tell you that the sign for Hanukkah is either palm forward or palm backward.  Actually it is either.  If you research this sign and dig around (as I did) I'm sure you'll come to the same conclusion.  I'm very comfortable telling you that you will see Hanukah signed both ways (palm forward or palm back) in real life, (as well as "in the literature" and "online").

Hanukkah: palms backward:  Elaine Costello's book: "Religious Signing," also in Lou Fant's version in the "ASL Phrase Book."

Hanukkah: palms forward: Michigan ASL Browser, The ASL Handshape Dictionary, LASL, and Don_G.


Hanukkah: Unusual version:  (at the time of this research they were using a very stylized movement that ends up palm back).

Hanukkah: both versions: palms forward and palms back:  Random House ASL Dictionary (two entries).
Hanukkah: palms backward - )

Note: Richard Horrell tells me that he recalls (when he was in Washington D.C.) seeing Jews sign Hanukkah signed palm forward.)

I do not have a personal preference for one way or the other. I recommend you do it whatever way your local Deaf Jewish friends do it. For what it is worth, it seems to me that the palm back version is a bit easier to do. (Less tension in the wrist.)  Also, if you are wishing someone a "Happy Hanukah" your hands are already palm back from signing "HAPPY" so it would seem an easy transition into a palm-back HANUKAH.  But again, do as the locals do.
--Dr. Bill

(Palm-back version)


(Palm-forward version)


Hanukah: (version 3) (Not recommended.)

Similar to other versions but the hands start in "B-handshapes" instead of "4" handshapes.


In a message dated 7/6/2005 10:38:02 PM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

I let you know your lesson is H and Hanukah is wrong spells and Its actual is meaning : Hanukkah
Bye, I enjoy checking to your site is the best sign langauge.

Dear Ecdrury,
Thanks for sharing your comment.
According to there are three accepted spellings:
"Hanukkah or Hanukah also Chanukah."
But now I have a vote from you for the longer spelling.
Dr. Bill
p.s. By the way, "langauge" is actually spelled, "language."  (Wink.)
In a message dated 7/7/2005 2:11:42 PM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:
Oh, because I'm used on the website is
I got it what you mean.
Thank you for told me.

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