Whats Happening this Chanukah!
SUNDAY, DEC. 2
HOLYOKE – 3rd Annual Holyoke Chanukah Menorah Lighting at Holyoke City Hall, 536 Dwight St., 6-7:30 p.m., followed by songs, dreidels, and refreshments inside City Hall; Contact: Sons of Zion, (413) 534-3369 or email@example.com; Open to the community
SPRINGFIELD – Springfield JCC Hanukkah First Light Celebration; 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Hannukah Cycle-a-thon and Vendor Fair (contact Emily Shotland for details: firstname.lastname@example.org.); At 4:30 p.m.: JCC’s Early Learning Center family program — making a Hanukkah menorah to display in the EJC, dribble self portraits and Hanukkah candle-ware color resistant paintings; 5:30 p.m.: lighting of largest menorah in Western Mass. at the JCC; 6 p.m.: Concert featuring Rabbi Noam Katz; Concert is free and open to the public, Springfield JCC, 1160 Dickinson St., www.SpringfieldJCC.org
WORCESTER – Worcester Jewish Community Center 2nd Annual Hanukkah Latke Taste-Off: Enter your own latkes; prizes will be awarded for most innovative latke, best traditional latke and best overall presentation; Attendees can try a selection of latkes and vote for their favorites; includes Hanukkah activities for kids, 2 p.m., Worcester JCC 633 Salisbury St.; To enter the contest: contact Nancy Greenberg at email@example.com; RSVP to attend by Nov. 27: (508) 756-7109, ext. 232 or firstname.lastname@example.org
WORCESTER – Chabad’s Giant Menorah at Newton Square, 4 p.m.; followed by Worcester Jewish Community Chanukah Celebration at Central Mass Chabad, 5 p.m., 22 Newton Ave.; FREE
WORCESTER – Worcester Airport Menorah Lighting, every night at 5:30 p.m., from Dec. 2-9; hosted by Central Mass Chabad
MONDAY, DEC. 3
HOLYOKE – Klezmer Chanukah Celebration; bring your menorah and candles to light together with the community, enjoy klezmer music, sufganiot, latkes and refreshements, and play dreidel with chocolate gelt; 6:30-8 p.m., at Rodphey Sholom, 1800 Northampton St., (413) 534-5262. Suggested donation; $5/person; $10/family. Open to the public.
SPRINGFIELD – Menorah Lighting at Court Square; Join LYA for a community lighting ceremony on Court Square with Springfield elected officials and dignitaries, community leaders, and schoolchildren; Enjoy latkes, cocoa and dreidels; 3:15 p.m., Downtown Springfield; Contact: Rabbi Chaim Kosofsky, (413) 567-8665, www.LYA.org, email@example.com
WORCESTER – Chabad at Clark University Giant Menorah Lighting, 6 p.m., Red Square; *Students can light menorahs each night from 5-7 p.m. in Clark University Center
TUESDAY, DEC. 4
LONGMEADOW – Spin into Chanukah — LYA PTO Chanukah Dinner, with yo-yo and spinning top demonstration by Brett Outchcunis; dinner will include a meat and pasta dinner with Chanukah specialties latkes and donuts (a vegetarian/vegan option is available upon request). A Chanukah menorah lighting and performance by the LYA Choir will follow dinner, 5:30-7:30 p.m., 1148 Converse St., RSVP by calling LYA at (413) 567-8665 or email and info@LYA.org. $9/adults; $5/child; $40/family price (2 adults and 5 children under age 11).
WORCESTER – Sufganyot Family Workshop, hosted by Central Mass Chabad, 4 p.m., 22 Newton Ave.
WORCESTER – N’shei Chabad annual Chanukah Party, hosted by Central Mass Chabad, time TBA
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 5
LONGMEADOW – JLI Chanukah Dinner featuring entertainment by Mentalist Jonathan Blair; the event for adults only will include a catered dinner and menorah lighting, 6:30 p.m., 1148 Converse St., RSVP and contact: Rabbi Yakov Wolff at 413-348-4978 or email Rabbiymwolff@gmail.com. $30
WORCESTER – Chanukah With Worcester Retailers, Central Mass Chabad, 7:05 p.m., DCU center, Tickets: Leivik (508) 926-9025
THURSDAY, DEC. 6
LONGMEADOW – Menorah Lighting on the Green with LYA, 4 p.m., Longmeadow Town Green, with Chanukah treats; Contact: Rabbi Noach Kosofsky at (413) 567-8665.
WORCESTER – Chanukah Story Time, hosted by Central Mass Chabad, 4 p.m., Worcester Public Library
FRIDAY, DEC. 7
WORCESTER – Chanukah Shabbat Dinner, traditional Shabbat dinner with latkes and more, 5:15 p.m., at home of the Fogelmans, 53 Midland St.; chani@centralmasschabad
SATURDAY, DEC. 8
SPRINGFIELD – Celebrate Chanukah with the Springfield Thunderbirds; Celebrate Chanukah with LYA at game between the Springfield Thunderbirds
& Charlotte Checkers; game start: 7:05 p.m., Menorah Lighting on the ice during the first Intermission; Tickets: $12 a ticket (savings of $5) if purchased through LYA, contact Rochel Leah Kosofsky at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Tickets must be ordered and paid for by Friday, Nov. 30)
SHREWSBURY – Lights & Strikes, a Chabad Young Professional Chanukah Celebration for Jews in their 20s and 30s; 8 p.m., Bowlero, 405 Boston Turnpike, $20 cover includes unlimited bowling, rental shoes, food and drinks; (508) 926-9025
WORCESTER – Temple Emanuel Sinai Chanukah Dinner, 4:30-7 p.m., Temple Emanuel Sinai, 661 Salisbury St., Cost: $10 per adult, $5 for children under 18, maximum of $25 per family. RSVP: by Nov. 28: (508) 755-1257 or email@example.com.
** If you are not able to attend and would like to make a donation or sponsor a family, please visit https://emanuelsinai.org/giving/
SUNDAY, DEC. 9
GREENFIELD – Light the Night: A Chanukah Celebration with Temple Israel at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center; the community-wide celebration will include candlemaking and lighting, music and dancing with the Wholesale Klezmer Band, 4-6:30 p.m., (bring your menorahs for the candlelighting at 5:30 p.m.), 289 Main St., $10/adults; $5/children; latkes will be available for purchase.
LONGMEADOW – Annual Katz Family Chanukah Breakfast at Congregation B’nai Torah; breakfast cooked by City of Homes, electrifying musical entertainment with Daniel Gil, Chanukah crafts and activities for children as well as baking Chanukah cookies; 9:30-11 am., 2 Eunice Drive, RSVP: (413) 567-036 or firstname.lastname@example.org
FREE & open to All!
LONGMEADOW – Fire on Ice at Longmeadow Shops – Menorah lightin
g at Longmeadow Shoppes, Williams Street; activities begin at 4 p.m.; with menorah carved out of ice (ice-carving demonstration at 4:30 p.m.); menorah lighting at 5 p.m.; fire juggler at 5:15 p.m.; includes Chanukah activities, music, dreidels, hot cocoa, donuts, hot latkes, and hot coffee; Contact: Rabbi Yakov Wolff 413-348-4978. FREE & open to the public.
WORCESTER – Chabad Hebrew School
Children’s Chanukah Carnival, 10 a.m. – noon, 22 Newton St.; $5/child
HANKKAH FEATURE STORY:
The Hanukkah connection: Sharing the light with far-away family
By Deborah Fineblum
(JNS) For generations, lighting the Hanukkah candles together has been the stuff lifelong memories are made of. But today’s far-flung families are increasingly challenged to share the sight of the candles aglow, the soundof the blessings and traditional songs sung by old and young alike, the feel of a perfectdreidel spin, and the smell and taste of latkes fresh from the pan.
Long distance offspring may be away at college, on a gap-year program, studying in a seminary or yeshiva, a lone soldier serving in the Israel Defense Forces, or working and living in another town, with or without kids of their own. Leaving today’s parents (and grandparents, too) called upon to apply ingenuity, creativity, flexibility and some basic technical know-how to successfully span the miles with Hanukkah spirit.
In fact, says The Red Tent author AnitaDiamant, who’s also generated a library of guidebooks on modern Jewish life, including How to Raise a Jewish Child: A Practical Handbook for Family Life,“my family enjoys Hanukkah kitsch so much we keep it going over the miles.”
When her daughter was a college student, Diamant would send a box of “Hanukkah stuff as counterweight to the Christmas decorations.” The “stuff”—menorah, gelt, candles (flame-free ones for those in dorms)— can include modest (think: socks) gifts for each of the eight nights, she says, including notice that a donation was made in their name to a nonprofit organization that’s meaningful to them.
Indeed, many find that Hanukkah invites us to shelve our refined sensibilities for eight days. There’s no such thing as bad taste when it comes to Hanukkah—the tackier, the better, according to some.
And here is where technology can be a parent’s best friend. Diamant recommends sending long-distance kids a “light-hearted, light-themed” text or email on each night complete with a holiday story and a link to a Hanukkah song, “plus a video of you lighting your hanukkiah at home.”
Whatever form it takes, college students receiving Hanukkah love from home is never more appreciated than in these days of anti-Israel—and often, outright anti-Semitic—influences on many North American campuses.
“Even celebrating a happy Jewish holiday like Hanukkah can get tricky on campuses today,” says Tammi Rossman-Benjamin of AMCHA Initiative, a watchdog organization monitoring North American campuses. “And yet, the Hanukkah story—about the few against the many—has so much to say about the threats that Jewish students face today. We know what happened thousands of years ago on this small piece of land, which the anti-Israel forces are telling us we have no historical right to. It reminds students that, even more basic than the latkes and sufganiyot, is that this awesome story and this ancient land truly belong to them.”
Lone soldiers are reliving that story daily as they protect the land and its citizens. But it’s not always easy on their parents multiple zones away. “Hanukkah is when I miss them the absolute most, and when we light, I usually cry,” says Hadassah Sabo Milner, a mom of three IDF lone soldiers who lives with her youngest son and husband in New York. “On Hanukkah, we were always singing ‘Maoz Tzur’ (‘Rock of Ages’) really badly together. And even though I’m not the kind of mom who needs to talk to my kids every day—they need to live their lives without having to check in all the time—when we light here, it’s the middle of the night in Israel, and I can’t just pick up the phone and call.”
Whereas young adults are celebrating beloved traditions from childhood, young children are busy forming their memories, and grandparents want to be part of that happy process.
Even when she can’t be with them on the holiday, Ann Wanetik, who lives in the Detroit area, takes advantage of her visits to her eight grandchildren, all of whom happen to live in one small country in the Middle East. “Whenever I’m in Israel in the fall, I take each one out separately and let them choose what they want for Hanukkah,” she says. “It’s an opportunity to have some time alone with each one, focus on what that child enjoys most and buy them something special they pick out themselves.”
For Boston-area grandmother Ruth Nemzoff, technology shrinks the miles between her and her long-distance grandkids. “You’ve got to get with the program,” she says.
So Nemzoff, author of Don’t Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws Into Family, and known as “Mama Ruth” to her 11 grandkids, ages 8 months to 18 years, has developed a full program of Hanukkah connections with those on the West Coast and in Washington, D.C.
“No matter what, when you live at a distance you have to be resourceful in creating Hanukkah with your grandchildren, but with interfaith ones, it’s even more important,” says Nemzoff, who serves as a board member at InterfaithFamily.
“I’m not big on materialism, and the goal is not to compete with the gifts under the tree, but I do want to share this special tradition with them,” she adds.
The Internet makes much of this possible, she maintains. Through it she uses it to send her younger grandkids “Shalom Sesame” DVDs and the older ones Hanukkah songs, including Maccabeats Hanukkah tunes. She’ll send small gifts, and in this Skype-able world arrange to light the candles, open gifts and even make latkes “together” (doable with her West Coast family three hours away on Pacific Standard Time).
Sometimes, even with the best of distance-spanners, it’s hard to beat the appeal of a sloppy sufganyiot-flavored kiss.
“We usually just get on a plane,” says Baltimore bubbe Belle Libber with a sigh. Be it to the grandkids in Milwaukee, Atlanta or Israel (one daughter and family live nearby), Libber and her husband Jonathan have racked up the frequent-flyer miles. “There’s nothing like being right there with them,” she says.
When that isn’t possible, love itself can travel at the speed of light—namely, the light of the Hanukkah menorah, says Rabbi Yisroel Gordon, principal of Machon Los Angeles, a high school for girls. “One reason Hanukkah makes a lot of people really homesick is the power of the menorah light itself, the only remnant we still have of the priests’ service in the holy temple,” he says. “Hanukkah reminds us of the importance of family since it was one courageous Jewish family, Matisyahu and his five sons, who created this miracle and saved the Jewish people.”
“If I were a mystic,” he adds, “I’d say that, gazing at the lights, you can feel that wherever they are, your child is gazing at the same lights along with you.”
CAP: Dressed like a Chanukah candle and twirling a dreidel, Mendel Kosofsky, 4, a junior kindergartener at LYA, is getting excited about Chanukah!
Chanukah gift guide
SodaStream Fizzi One Touch
The sleek Fizzi One Touch is SodaStream’s newest model and carbonates tap water at the touch of a button. With three levels of automatic carbonation, you can perfectly customize your sparkling water and there’s no worry of accidentally fizzing all over yourself. $129.99; www.sodastream.com
Enso silicone rings
Enso touts its selection of silicone rings as safer and refined alternatives to traditional rings, especially great for people who are into sports or active in the outdoors. These comfortable, durable rings, made in the U.S.A., come in wider bands or slimmer stackable bands in several colors and styles, including a newer line with precious metals infused into the silicone. $10.99 – $39.99; enso.com
Sidekick socks by Solmate
These delightfully mismatched socks come in seven multi-colored styles, including, from left, Earth Mismatched USA Made Socks, Fire Mismatched USA Made Socks, and Blue Spruce Mismatched USA Made Socks. They are all made in the U.S.A from recycled material. $20.90 a pair; fairindigo.com
A Little Wish for Hanukkah bracelet by Sweethearts & Darlings
These tiny red wish-string bracelets come with a card that says, “Make a wish as you tie on your bracelet. When the bracelet falls away, it is believed that your wish will be granted.” $4.04; www.etsy.com/shop/SweetheartsDarlings
“Faux Real” Ugly Holiday Sweater T-Shirts
Don’t let your Christmas-celebrating ugly holiday sweater-wearing friends have all the fun. These intentionally tacky t-shirts — featuring several Chanukah designs — emulate ugly holiday sweaters without the bulk and itchiness. $30; www.thegrommet.com/faux-real