There is definitely something about Hanukkah that inspires folks to build things. Over in Fort Worth (read about it on Page 8 of this week’s issue), members of Congregation Ahavath Sholom built what they are touting as the tallest Lego menorah. Here in Big D, the community’s three day school’s — Akiba Academy, Ann and Nate Levine Academy, and Torah Day School — built Hanukkah inspired structures out of cans, aka, “Canukah!” What’s great about both of these endeavors? They are double mitzvahs. When done, the items will be donated. Ahavath Sholom is donating the Legos to Tarrant County children’s organizations and Akiba, Levine and Torah Day donated their creations to the Jewish Family Service Food Pantry. Levine students built a can “banner” reading “Chag Sameach” in Hebrew. Levine collected approximately 800 cans and an assortment of sundries to donate to JFS. Torah Day students built two structures: a menorah and latkes frying in a pan. TDSD collected 650 cans and other food items to build its structures. Akiba Academy collected 2,000 cans and built a menorah. Yasher Koach to all three schools for embodying the essence of tikkun olam in a meaningful, fun and engaging manner.
The Chabads of North Texas held 15 Hanukkah menorah lightings throughout the holiday. Twelve of those were in Dallas, Plano and Frisco and it’s evident from the photos on these pages that good times were had by all. In celebration of the last night of Hanukkah, the Jewish Community Center of Dallas (The J) and Chabad of North Texas co-sponsored a multigenerational, family-friendly menorah lighting event Sunday, Dec. 13. The event, held at The J’s campus at 7900 Northaven Road, was filled with true Texas flair as more than 125 guests enjoyed a tailgate party to watch the Dallas Cowboys followed by the lighting of the 32-foot-tall menorah during halftime. “We wanted to do something really special this year,” said Artie Allen, The J’s president. “Since the last night of Hanukkah fell on the same night as a Dallas Cowboys game, it was the perfect opportunity to create a Hanukkah Tailgate Party to bring the community together.” Beginning about 3:25 p.m., fans watched the Dallas Cowboys take on the Green Bay Packers on oversized screens in the lobby while snacking on tailgate-inspired food sold by Simcha Kosher Catering. At halftime the real show began with the “Light Up the Night” program lighting real oil lamps on the 32-foot-tall menorah, which usually uses electricity instead. Community entertainer Eli Davidsohn helped create both ambiance and excitement with festive music played on his accordion as halftime began. Then Rabbi Mendel Dubrawsky welcomed the crowd and invited prominent members of the community to light a 5-foot-tall menorah while he rode a scissor lift to light the oil lamps on the 32-foot-tall menorah. The community lighters included Artie Allen, president of The J; three generations of the Aaron family — Carol Aaron, Angela Aaron Horowitz (current JCC board chair) and Angela’s son Max; Scott Cohen (immediate past JCC board chair) and his daughter Ella; Jeffrey and Janet Beck; and Sheldon and Barbara Stein. As the group sang the blessings in unison and the menorahs were lit, the flames could be seen against the darkening sky. Then it was time for more music and dancing led by the JCC Gems Gymnastics team. Attendees also enjoyed holiday favorites such as latkes (fried potato pancakes) and jelly doughnuts.