Tarrant County Hanukkah celebrations
Photo: Courtesy Lil Goldman Early Childhood Center
Hanukkah is always a highlight for students at the Lil Goldman Early Learning Center as evidenced by this 2019 photo. This year COVID-19 restrictions will be in place but plenty of fun is planned.

By Hannah Simon

Hanukkah celebrations in Tarrant County will look different this year. Due to COVID-19, Tarrant County synagogues and Chabads have to be creative with their celebrations. 

Congregation Ahavath Sholom
4050 South Hulen St., Fort Worth

At 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 11, Congregation Ahavath Sholom will hold a drive-in service in their parking lot with soup and sufganiot (doughnuts). At 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12, the Congregation will hold a virtual Hanukkah celebration, open to the public. Rabbi Andrew Bloom said, “The event will commence with Havdalah, then will go into an explanation of the importance of Hanukkah in history and the fighting of the Maccabees, a symbol of how we can fight an overwhelming enemy — the pandemic.” Next, the Congregation will light the Hanukkah candles, followed by songs led by Hazzan Jeffrey Weber and the members of the Learning and Engagement Center. Afterward, each individual can speak about his or her personal hanukkiah and what it means to that person. The event will end with a song or two. The event can be streamed on Facebook Live. The Zoom link can be obtained by contacting the Congregation at https://ahavathsholom.org/.

Beth-El Congregation
4900 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth

Beth-El Congregation will hold a combination of virtual and outdoor in-person events. Rabbi Zimmerman said, “We know this is a lonely time, and we want to help people bring light to one another.” Every night Beth-El will offer the opportunity to light candles virtually with friends over Zoom or light candles at the Temple in the parking lot. At 5:30 p.m., the outdoor lighting will start and is open to the public. The congregation will light the menorah the Brotherhood built. The Zoom link can be obtained by calling the Temple at 817-332-7141. Beth-El is also collecting toys for Toys for Tots, and giving away prizes to people who come in person every night. To donate, simply drop your toy off at the Temple.

Congregation Beth Israel
6100 Pleasant Run Road, Colleyville

From 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 10, Congregation Beth Israel will hold a religious school–focused drive-thru, giving out Hanukkah goodie bags containing candles, gelt and dreidels. The Congregation will celebrate with music and the lighting in the parking lot of “CBI’s first contest winner, newly created, big menorah.” The Hanukkah goodie bags can also be delivered upon request. On Dec. 11 at 7 p.m., the Friday evening service will take place on Zoom. Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker said, “We are hoping for over 50 menorahs on screen.” Starting at 4:45 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12, the Congregation will hold a simple Hanukkah lighting with Havdalah and trivia night on Zoom. At 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 13, CBI will hold a Hanukkah Pajamakkah on Zoom with a magician and candle lighting. At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16, CBI is holding a regular evening service that will begin with lighting the menorah together on Zoom, followed by a 7:30 p.m. Hanukkah-themed Talmud study also on Zoom. If you want to join in on the fun, register on the website at https://www.congregationbethisrael.org/. You do not have to register for a specific event. Just register and then you will receive the Zoom link.

Congregation Beth Shalom
1212 Thannisch Drive, Arlington

 At 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12, Congregation Beth Shalom will hold a virtual Hanukkah party. To get everyone in the Hanukkah mood, the Sisterhood prepared Hanukkah gift bags with candles, gelt, Hanukkah pencils, Starbucks gift cards and more. The religious school kids will also get a special treat including Hanukkah masks and dreidel candies. To obtain the Zoom link, please call 817-860-5448.

Chabad of Fort Worth
Chabad of Southlake

Chabads of Fort Worth and Southlake mailed out menorahs, candles and a dreidel to community members. “We want to reach every Jew with the warmth, light, and beauty of the menorah and its message of hope and faith. If you need a menorah, we have one available for you; please just fill out the online form and we will make sure that you get it in time for the holiday. If you already have one but know of someone who can use one please become an ambassador of light by filling out the online form and getting a menorah for them,” said Rishi Gurevitch. You may order a menorah at https://bit.ly/2LeqkHT.

At 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 10, Chabad will also hold a public menorah lighting in Southlake Town Square (285 Grand Ave.). The event will be socially distanced with masks required. There will also be Hanukkah gift bags, to-go crafts for kids, music and Hanukkah fun. At 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 14, Chabad of Southlake will hold “Hanukkah together at home,” which will be held on Zoom featuring a menorah lighting, a Hanukkah film presentation, games and more. Register for this event and a Hanukkah box at https://bit.ly/37NH8NK. A Zoom link will be sent out in the afternoon. 

Lil Goldman Early Learning Center

Esther Wolf, director of Lil Goldman Early Learning Center, explained that at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 18, Hanukkah will be celebrated by livestreaming the Hanukkah program on Facebook. Each class will have its own Hanukkah party and light the menorah every morning. There will also be a book exchange between the students. Lil Goldman is collecting pajamas for needy families. To donate, drop off pajamas at the School.

Even in this dark time, thank God we have our Festival of Lights shining brightly. 

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