Best Chanukah Practices

Just as Every Synagogue Is Unique, So Are Their Meaningful and Creative Chanukah Programs

From lighting the menorah, to giving and receiving gifts, to cooking and eating delicious foods (jelly donuts and latkes, anyone?), there are certain Chanukah traditions that just about every Jew enjoys. Then, there are those traditions that are unique to each family—like the one that celebrates “high-tech Chanukah” over their phones and tablets, because they are spread out around the country, or the one that makes canned applesauce together in the fall to enjoy and gift to others come time for the Festival of Lights. Similarly, the synagogues throughout our region and their kehillot (Jewish community inside and outside the walls of a synagogue) have certain traditions they share, but they are also all very unique and that’s reflected in the different meaningful and creative Chanukah programs they are hosting this season. Here are just a few that we hope will light the way for your own congregation’s programs.

Congregation Or Tzion in Scottsdale, Arizona Goes to a Galaxy Far Away

What do Star Wars and Chanukah have in common? Probably nothing, but a Star Wars, Episode VIII special screening on December 19th is a fun and unique way to bring families together to enjoy the lighting of the menorah, brief learning and a movie.

Learn more here.

Tifereth Israel Synagogue (TIS) in San Diego, California, Embraces Two Families

Social action at TIS this season looks like this: The synagogue has embraced two local families—one Jewish and one not—through Jewish Family Service to ensure they enjoy the holidays despite hardship. One is a single dad and his young daughter, who lost their wife and mom in a car accident and the father is now working two jobs to get by; the other is a single mom with three school-aged children still living at home whose husband died tragically. From now through December 8th, the synagogue is collecting gift cards, clothing, bedding, toys and more from these families’ wish lists.

Learn more here.

Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles, California, Blends Noshing and Narratives

There’s a major production brewing at Temple Beth Am: The Hanukkah Monologues: Heroes, Miracles and Lights in the Dark. The December 10th event will feature eating, schmoozing and live performances of personal narratives created and performed by the synagogue’s own members. The program was inspired by NPR’s storytelling program, The Moth.

Learn more here.

Adat Shalom in Los Angeles, California, Builds a Host of Chanukah Angels

Hark! Adat Shalom has been busy building a host of angels as a holiday social action project. By becoming a “Chanukah Angel” and adopting a Chai Lifeline Child, congregants can help make a child’s Chanukah extra special by buying them a gift from their wish list. These children have serious, chronic and sometimes life-threatening illnesses that make it difficult for their families to make ends meet.

Learn more about Adat Shalom here, or e-mail with questions or to participate.

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