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Chanukah 5781-2020 with FTJC

Photo of multi-colored dreidels in a joyful pile

Community-Wide Events (Outdoors)

Gift Giveaway and Machzor Return!
Sunday, December 13, 3:00-4:30 PM
Location: outside Hebrew Tabernacle, West 185th Street between Pinehurst Ave and Fort Washington Ave.

Stop by Hebrew Tabernacle main entrace to return your High Holiday machzor(s), receive a Chanukah treat from FTJC, say hi to your fellow FTJC members outside in a socially distanced way, and get your hands on the last few FTJC tote bags (while supplies last!). Then head on over to Bennett Park for an activity fair and community-wide electric candle-lighting. 

Fourth Night: A Video Game In Person Adventure! and Community-Wide Public Candlelighting
Sunday, December 13, 3:30-4:30 PM; Candlelighting at 4:30 PM
Location: Bennett Park, enter at Fort Washington Ave and West 184th St.

Join the Y of Washington Heights and MainStages for some Chanukah fun in Bennett Park! On the fourth day of Chanukah 2020, travel throughout the park meeting costumed characters as "bosses" in the fictional Chanukah-themed video game "Fourth Night" while collecting fictional "gelt" on separate photo and selfie challenges! Participants will be able to interact with these odd characters and play creative interactive games in a socially distant and fully masked event. At 4:30 PM, rabbis of many neighborhood congregations will join together to light a giant electric menorah in the park! Pre-registration requested here, registration table also onsite. Kosher, nut-free treats will be available.


Classes and Learning

Cooking for Chanukah with Jack Greene (Zoom)
Wednesday, December 2, 6:15 PM
Join Jack Greene for a very special Chanukah edition of cooking class, focusing on a Japanese fried pancake called okonomiyaki! These are standard batter pancakes which are stuffed with shredded cabbage and a variety of vegetables or meats, then dressed with spicy mayo and ketchup. Jack will making a vegan version as well as one with Korean fried beef.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like... Shabbos? Gender and Melachah on Chanukah (Zoom)
Sunday, December 6, 8:00 PM
Text Study with Rabbi Guy Austrian. Wouldn’t it be nice to just sit quietly and watch the Chanukah candles shine? Halachic authorities think so too, prohibiting melachah activities while the candles burn, as if it were Shabbat. But they disagree whether this prohibition applies to women only, or to all genders. We’ll learn the why’s and what’s of this halachah, including its bloody and erotic origins, and we’ll discuss what’s at stake here for different approaches to halachic egalitarianism.

Judith: The Chanukah Story that Wasn't (Zoom)
Monday, December 14, 8:00 PM
A learning session with clergy intern Naomi Zaslow. The apocryphal book of Judith didn't make it into the Tanakh (Bible). In fact, the rabbis of the Mishnah had a strict ban on reading apocrypha; Rabbi Akiva even taught that one who reads apocrypha has no place in the World to Come. In a perplexing twist, some of our Chanukah customs and laws seem to come from Judith! In this class, we will explore the rabbinic ban on apocrypha, highlights from Judith's 16 chapters, and how our celebration of Chanukah draws from her pages.


Prayer and Song

Shabbat Chanukah: Kabbalat Shabbat (Zoom)
Friday, December 12, 3:00 PM
Kabbalat Shabbat highlights, a Devar Torah, and socializing time, as well as prayers for healing, our weekly list of yahrzeits, and chanting the Torah portion from a chumash.

Shabbat Chanukah: Shabbat Morning (In-Person, Outdoors)
Saturday, December 12, 9:30 AM
Pre-registration only, limited attendance due to pandemic restrictions.

Havdalah (Zoom)
Saturday, December 12, 5:30 PM
Havdalah with R. Guy and community members, and reflections on our Shabbat.

Melaveh Malka (Zoom)
Saturday, December 12, 6:30 PM
Join R. Sara Zacharia and Adam Masser in saying goodbye to the Shabbat Queen. Enjoy some singing, a drink of your choosing, a little torah, and schmoozing.

Hallel for Chanukah Sunday (Zoom)
Sunday, December 13, 10:00 AM
A joyful celebration of Hallel for Chanukah, with a burst of singing from one of our favorite FTJC prayer leaders and a word of Torah from Rabbi Guy. (Those who wish to daven Shacharit can do so on their own before 10:00 AM).


Rimonim: Children's Activities (Outdoors)

Zer'aim (0 to 3K): Seeds of Chanukah
Saturday, December 5, 2:30 PM

We welcome Chanukah through song. Bundle up and bring your little ones! Pre-registration required, limited attendance. More info:

Nitzanim (4K to 2nd Gr): Chanukah in Motion!
Saturday, December 5, 3:30 PM

We welcome Chanukah through movement and games. Bundle up and get ready to move! Pre-registration required, limited attendance. More info:

Shorashim (3rd-5th Gr): Story Walk & Light Hunt
Saturday, December 12, 4:00 PM

We walk around the neighborhood hunting for lights and listening to Chanukah stories. Pre-registration required, limited attendance. More info:

Anafim (6th-8th Gr): Scavenger Hunt
Saturday, December 12, 3:00 PM

We search the neighborhood for Chanukah symbols and items. Pre-registration required, limited attendance. More info:


Rimonim: Resources for Families with Children

Gift Ideas: Anti-Racist Book List
COMING SOON:  Rimonim's Interactive Anti-Racist reading list! Compiled with guidance from PJ Library and Bechol Lashon's Anti-Racist reading lists, this list has books for kids and grown-ups. We would love for you to interact with this list! If you've already read something, leave your thoughts. If your family would like to read something, let others in the community know so you can discuss together. Chanukah is coming up!  Many of these books would make great gifts for family members or loved ones.

Video with Mira
COMING SOON: Our very own Mira Kessler (with roommates) re-enacts a funny and wise Jewish folk tale about Chanukah. Great viewing for grownups and kids. 

At-Home Activity
COMING SOON: Families will be able to sign up to receive an at-home activity kit -- complete with materials and instructions -- for a hands-on project and a yummy treat. 


Mon, May 10 2021 28 Iyyar 5781