Springfield Jewish Community Center extends Hanukkah celebrations

SPRINGFIELD – Chanukah, commonly known as the Festival of Lights, is a great time for holiday food, entertainment, and celebration of Judaism.

The eight-day celebration reminiscent of the consecration of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in antiquity and the one-day supply of oil that lasted for eight days to mark this was less robust last year as rallies continued to be a high risk for the pandemic virus. However, the vaccine rollout has helped the in-person celebrations return, and the Springfield Jewish Community Center’s expanded Hanukkah 2021 program combines virtual and on-site events.

“Over the past few years it has been difficult to come together as a community to celebrate Hanukkah, so this year we are trying to provide our communities with more opportunities than ever before,” said Samantha Dubrinsky, Executive Director by JCC.

Dubrinsky noted that the illumination of the first branch of the sacred eight-branched candelabra, or menorah, would still take place on the first night of Hanukkah, Sunday, November 28, but that in addition to the “First Light” event of 5 at 5:45 pm there are “three new programs for families and adults”.

This means that the JCC celebration begins on Sunday, November 21, the weekend before the start of Hanukkah, which is always the 25th day of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar, with “Hanukkah in the Hay” from 10 am to noon on campus. center at 1160 Dickinson St. The event, free to the public, includes a petting zoo, bouncy houses and crafts.

“It has been so difficult for parents during the pandemic, and we wanted to give parents an outlet for their children,” said Seth Stutman, JCC director of marketing and membership. “Kids love petting zoos and inflatables, and we’re also excited that our new PJ Library Engagement Coordinator is there to provide books for the kids at the event.”

He added, “As a community center, it’s part of our mission to improve the lives of families, and these days we’re excited to have a free event where everyone can enjoy the vacation together.”

Stutman said the JCC is also keeping the Hanukkah closing night with “Last Light: Vodka & Latkes,” Sunday, December 5, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the JCC, and a virtual concert from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the last day. , Monday December 6.

“We wanted to create an event for adults that was safe, engaging and different,” Stutman said of “Last Light” for ages 21 and over. “We will prepare the event with light aperitifs and a few festive cocktails. Chanukah is a holiday, and we wanted to find different ways to celebrate the eight nights of Chanukah.

Stutman said the virtual concert is the broadcast of a recently filmed “family Hanukkah concert” in Northampton.

“It plays for TCGs around the world who might want to be involved,” Stutman said. “Our very own Jewish educator, Elise Barber, will join Grammy nominee Mister G on stage for an international celebration.”

The concert is free. The cost to attend “Last Light” is $ 20; $ 15 for CCC members. Registration is required for both and can be done online where there is also information about the annual TCG Hanukkah Pickleball Tournament.

Stutman added that last year’s “First Light” was a “subdued and hybrid” event.

“We lit our menorah with a small crowd of clergy and simultaneously broadcast the event to over 150 people across the country,” Stutman said of the candelabra which represents the eight days the oil was on. burnt.

He noted that this year’s lighting ceremony for what is billed as the largest outdoor menorah in western Massachusetts is once again an event the public can attend at the start of Chanukah, and that a illumination is added throughout the eighth night.

“While ‘First Light’ and ‘Last Light’ will be our flagship events during the Hanukkah Run, at J we have different people lighting the menorah every night,” Stutman said. “From our staff and students at the Early Learning Center, to our elders and special needs populations, we serve so many groups who want to light the menorah, and we each take a night. “

He added: “We hope everyone can enjoy some or all of our festivities.”

“The public is always invited to our events, regardless of their background,” said Stutman. “Our JCC members, who are a diverse group, will also be joining us for these events. While the pandemic has made big events difficult, we are excited to bring more and smaller events to reach more and more people. “

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