In this festive holiday season, the Bay Ridge community continues to gather together in celebration.
On Sunday December 6, it was the turn of the Bay Ridge Jewish Center, Fourth Avenue and 81st Street, which hosted a Chanukah Party In honor of the first night of Chanukah, culminating in the lighting of the first candle of the menorah as many gathered to watch.
“It was a very exciting, positive event,” noted Rabbi Dina Rosenberg, adding, “Every year we are amazed at the number of people in the community who get involved in the synagogue.”
The annual event included arts and crafts, games of spinning the dreidel, and a saxophone and bass player for live music entertainment. In addition, Rosenberg said that children were able to decorate their very own jelly doughnuts — traditional holiday sweets known as sufganiyot — at the donut station provided.
The children also took part in chesed, which means acts of kindness, Rosenberg explained. Each child created a pouch with different things in it for members of the military to keep in their pockets and use overseas. The children created about 60 pouches, and later presented them to service members at the Fort Hamilton Base on Tuesday, December 8. A note was attached to each pouch thanking the military for their service. In addition, toys were collected at the event to be brought to children at Maimonides Medical Center.
Chanukah, according to Rosenberg, “Is about teaching both children and adults to learn the value of community, and unity, and to have pride in one’s Jewish identity.” The synagogue’s Chanukah event, she added, was about more than just having fun, but about creating an interactive, yet educational experience for the people who participated, noting “Some of the most successful learning comes from when children are having fun and engaging, without noticing they are learning valuable lessons.”