It’s that time of year again. As the festival of lights draws near, I’m busy readying my house – making it festive in lights and blue and white decorations. I realized yesterday that I just really like the warm glow that little white lights give to a room. It feels cozy and makes me smile. We have blue and white lights on our banister to the upstairs and Miriam likes to dramatically walk up them singing “Let it Go” (shhh, don’t tell her I told you). The dreidel collection is on the baby grand piano, the menorah collection is on the upright piano (yes, I have two pianos – don’t ask). There’s ribbon and glass balls, numbered boxes for tiny presents each night and a huge bag of ingredients in the kitchen for my holiday baking frenzy.
Last year around this time, I did a blog post about changing things up on Hanukkah and trying to help our families focus on more than just getting stuff. I have to admit, I was not successful in this endeavor with my own family. My inlaws love to give presents to the kids, but so do I. And so, they were spoiled rotten and completely missed the point of giving to those in need.
This year, I have committed to do things differently. I haven’t completely mapped it out, but it goes something like this…
- The kids will still get a present each day from their Bubbe and Saba – I can’t change that part.
- On day 3, we will walk around our neighborhood, sharing homebaked cookies with the neighbors and wishing them a happy holiday.
- On day 4 (Hanukkah Shabbat), we will celebrate with our TOR family, lighting the lights together on the bimah. I hope you will join us – services are at 6:45, bring your menorah.
- On day 5 we are having friends over so the children can share the holiday with their non-Jewish (and a few Jewish) friends from school . On this day, they will give something away instead of receiving.
- Also on day 5 (because it just ended up that way), we are laying wreaths on the graves of forgotten soldiers with other members of the Wounded Warrior project.
- On day 6, we will write letters of thanks to important people in our lives – our teachers, grandparents, friends – letting them know what they mean to us.
- They will receive gifts from Adam and I on the final night of Hanukkah
For the record, when I shared these plans with the kids, I got a response somewhere along the lines of “This is going to be the worst Hanukkah ever.” Unfortunately for them, that just further solidified my resolve and belief that we are doing the right thing. School is still in session throughout Hanukkah this year. I have always found that when that is the case, you have to try a lot harder to slow down. I like to savor these moments with the kids. This year, I will savor the learning opportunities that present themselves and work toward growing little humans who find greater joy in giving than in receiving.
++++++++++ Announcements +++++++++
Wednesday, November 29 – Hebrew Tutorials and 7th grade B’nai Mitzvah class
- There is also a Annual Gala Fundraiser brainstorming meeting at 6:30pm – I encourage parents take a moment to provide some input. What kind of fundraiser event would you come to? Share your ideas!
Thursday, November 30 – Hebrew Tutorials
Friday, December 1 @ 10am – Gan K’tan
Friday, December 1 – First Friday Family Shabbat
- @5:30pm – Pre Shabbat Dinner – please RSVP via Evite! $5/person or $20/family
- @6:45pm – Shabbat Service featuring our Special Topics Classes – this is going to be great!
Saturday, December 2 @ 10am – Bat Mitzvah of Jane Gordon – Mazel Tov Jane!
Sunday, December 3
- @9am – Religious School
- @9am – Making Jewish Holidays a Real Celebration: Hanukkah – Join Rabbi Rabishaw to deepen your understanding of one of our favorite Jewish holidays. This class is a great opportunity for learning some holiday history, creating new family rituals, and increasing the joy of your home celebrations! Please RSVP if you think you will attend – firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no charge.
Wednesday, December 6
- 6 to 8pm – Hebrew Tutorials
- @6:30pm – 7th Grade B’nai Mitzvah Class
- @6:30pm – Teen OR
Thursday, December 7 – Hebrew Tutorials
Friday, December 8 @ 10am – Gan K’tan
Friday, December 15 @ 6:45pm – Hanukkah Shabbat Bring your menorah and light the 4th candle with your TOR family.
Sunday, December 17th from 10am to 12pm – Hanukkah Happening: Join us for a carnival with games, crafts, prizes, latkes and a driedel spin-off! $10 per child.