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Hanukkah at the JCCH: Back to the Future PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 06 December 2013 11:45

By Judy Weinberg: This year for the first time we incorporated the Zimriyah song festival with a Hanukkah play performed by our 6th graders. Throughout the play songs are interwoven and sung by our Kindergarten to 6th graders.  The genesis of the creation of the play began with the 6th graders researching and listing all the important events and customs related to Hanukkah.

From their list a play was written which began in the present at the JCCH with children finding a magical dreidel which took them back in time. First they were taken back to the Temple after the Maccabees won the war for religious freedom and the miracle of the oil. The magical dreidel then took them to  the time of the Mishnah (30BCD -200AD) when the House of Hillel and the House of Shammai debated how to light the Hanukkah Menorah. Bet Shammai said:  On the first day one lights eight and from then on one continues to decrease, and Bet Hillel said: On the first day one lights one and from then on one continues to increase as did the miracle. To this day we do as Beit Hillel suggested. Now back to our play.

The students then traveled in time to America in the 1920’s where an American immigrant family was celebrating the holiday with gelt and fried foods in honor of the miracle of the oil. Traditions were learned from the “old country”.  A guest, a non-Jewish American neighbor, teaches the immigrant family the tradition of gift giving on Christmas which till this day influences American Jewry on Hanukkah.

Finally our play concluded with the things our students liked and were  grateful for in relation to  Hanukkah, such as: the oil lasting for 8 days, the latkes and donuts, the fact that Jews all around the world are celebrating the festival of lights, the fact that the holiday celebrates freedom of religion, the debate between  Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai , how  the Maccabees stood up for something they believed in and were  willing to fight for what they believe in even if the odds were against them, the importance of  giving to others,  knowing that miracles are still happening in the world and to the Jewish people and of course the presents. May we all continue to appreciate the good in our lives and the importance of little miracles happening each day.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 06 December 2013 11:46