By Sharon Wisch-Ray
Hanukkah activities gear up in Tarrant County
Hanukkah festivities are underway in Fort Worth and its surrounds. Last weekend Congregation Beth Israel held its Annual Hanukkah Hoedown at Newton’s Rocky Top Ranch. Beth Israel has a Hanukkah potluck dinner and service planned for Wednesday, Dec. 17. Dinner (bring a vegetarian dish) is at 6 p.m. with a BYOM (bring your own menorah) lighting at 7 p.m.
Beth-El Congregation will host two Hanukkah events this weekend. To kickoff the weekend, at 6:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 12, you can BYOM and candles and light the lights together, eat dinner and enjoy the Men of Reform Judaism’s famous latkes; listen to the musical talents of the new Children’s Choir; and for the grand finale, be dazzled and amazed as magician Bo Gerard (www.bogerard.com) demonstrates what the magic of Hanukkah truly looks like. The event is free, but donations are accepted and appreciated. RSVPs to the synagogue office, 817-332-7141 are required.
Fun at Beth-El will continue for those with young families at a Hanukkah party at 11:30 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 13 at Pump it Up, 1500 Mall Circle in Fort Worth. The event is free for Beth-El families with children age 7 and under (siblings are welcome). Again, the event is free, but donations are accepted. An RSVP to the synagogue office, 817-332-7141, required.
On Sunday, Dec. 14, Chabad of Arlington will host a menorah making workshop from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Home Depot, 201 W. Road to Six Flags in Arlington. The supplies and fun are free, but an RSVP by is a must to participate. Call Chabad at 817-933-2877 and let them know that you and your family will attend.
There is more exciting news for Chabad of Arlington and the Mid Cities — they have a new home. The address is 1861 Brown Blvd., #213, Arlington 76006. The community is invited to attend the dedication of the Chabad House at a Hanukkah celebration at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 20. Enjoy wine, music and sushi. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 817-933-2877.
Chabad of Fort Worth will hold its community Hanukkah celebration at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 21, at the Chabad Center, 5659 Woodway Drive. Rabbi Dov and Chana Tova Mandel would love to see you there.
If you are in Arlington and the Mid Cities Dec. 20, and Chabad of Arlington isn’t your scene, you can attend the Hanukkah party at Congregation Beth Shalom, 1212 Thannisch Drive. The fun starts after Shabbat at 6:30 p.m.
Finally, if you are not in the Mid-Cities and want to stay closer to Cowtown Dec. 20, Ahavath Sholom (4050 S. Hulen St.) will host a communitywide Hanukkah celebration from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The Ahavath Sholom children’s choir will provide entertainment. Please bring a can of food or two to be donated to the Arbor Lawn Food Pantry.
As they say that’s a Hanukkah wrap!
Celebrate the holiday by volunteering
The holiday season offers a chance for people from many different backgrounds and faith traditions to give back to the community. It’s a time for people to reflect on the good things in their lives and share with others. The question for those who would help is often not whether to volunteer, but where?
More than 8,000 people have created accounts on the Volunteer Center’s Voly.org website. The site’s cutting-edge technology is similar to popular social media sites. Users can search by cause, location, date or by the name of the agency they wish to serve. Hundreds of volunteer opportunities are available on Voly.org every day.
“We know that volunteerism is an essential part of the amazing work that nonprofits do,” Volunteer Center Chief Advancement Officer Kathi Wenrich said. “But during the holidays, people have more flexibility in their schedules, with children out of school and folks taking vacation time. We think this is the perfect time to find or rediscover the joy of serving causes we all believe in.”
The Volunteer Center of North Texas helps to connect more than 25,000 volunteers every year with more than 2,500 local nonprofits. The available opportunities range from food banks and homeless services to animal shelters and arts providers and everything in between.
To volunteer, visit voly.org.
“Voly.org is revolutionary way for people to connect with nonprofits that make a difference in the community every day,” Wenrich. “It’s really easy and effective way for people to discover how they can help.”
Many agencies provide services year-round — including holidays. Some agencies still have available volunteer opportunities for the days when a lot of people are spending time with family and friends.
“Our agencies need volunteers every day of the year,” Wenrich said. “People who celebrate Hanukkah would be perfectly suited to volunteer on Christmas Day, for instance. We know that you could make this season a little brighter for someone in need.”