So How Do You Spell It: Chanukah? Hanukkah? Hanuka?

Jason English

According to our friend David Holzel, "The short answer is yes."

We’re dealing with a transliteration that – because English and Hebrew don’t share all of the same sounds and none of the same letters – is inexact. The first Hebrew letter in the holiday’s name has the sound of a guttural “h.” How would you prefer to render that in English – with an “h,” which can lead people to think that the word starts with an English “h” sound? Or how about using “ch” instead – which could lead some to think the sound is like the “ch” in “cheese”? Then there’s the final letter hey, which does have the sound of “h” – except when it comes at the end of the word. Then it’s silent. So, do you use an “h” to be as true to the Hebrew spelling as possible? Or do you leave it out, because the word doesn’t end with an “h” sound? The choice is yours.

Read More: 8 Chanukah Mysteries Revealed. And Happy Hanukkah!