By Glen Gilbert: I confess. I arrived a bit late for this year’s Hanukkah Hoopla. Walking into the ballroom, I found the party in full swing. Most of the 190 celebrants already were, well, celebrating. As I swung my head around, there was lots to take in. My eyes nonetheless focused instantly on the following tableau: a father holding his son, bobbing up and down as Cantor sang “Zoom Gali Gali” accompanied by the house band. The father was singing along. The son was all a-giggle.
That’s all you really need to know about Hanukkah Hoopla. There was so much more that was wonderful about the evening, including terrific food, seven crafts tables circled by enchanted and engaged kids, catching up with members of the community, an inspiring havdallah service, and the lighting of a “human menorah.” But, for me at least, nothing surpassed this silhouetted father and child enjoying such a moment.
When we’re able to come together for events that are truly intergenerational, then we are doing that which our scripture asks – no, demands – that we do, and we are never more Jewish. I refer not only to parents and young children. There’s much that our synagogue elders do to inspire and enlighten those coming up behind them. I, personally, have been blessed with many “Rabbis” who have done their best to keep me on the straight and narrow as I’ve grappled with various leadership issues over the last several years. Example: abound of young and old coming together at the JCCH to learn from one another or, as was the case at Hanukkah Hoopla, to simply enjoy each other’s company.
I hesitate to take the chance of thanking those responsible for this wonderful event, for it “took a village,” and I most likely would leave several off of the list. Nonetheless, I cannot in good conscience complete this message without at least thanking Wendy Levi, Andrea Platte and Bea Goldstein for again producing Hanukkah Hoopla and the Men’s Club, Sisterhood, the Taubin family and an anonymous donor for largely funding it.
As Rabbi (the actual one!) reminds us, the lights of our Jewish values are never so bright as they are during Hanukkah.May they shine as brightly through the coming year.