Chanukah Report

Friday, 10 December, 2010 - 1:11 pm

Chanukah is the holiday that brings out the desire to celebrate our Jewishness more than almost any other. The explanation for this phenomenon can be debated forever. Some attribute it to the seasonal celebrations of others. Some attribute it to the light & fun nature of the observances giving children an ability to participate. Some attribute it to the messages of religious freedom and light over might. And there are many other theories as well. Regardless of the motiviating factors, this enthusiasm should be and is successfully seized upon by Jewish community institutions as an opportunity to get people involved.

Chabad around the world has had significant success in generating Chanukah interest via public Menorah lightings and creative programming that people enjoy. This year in New Orleans we had a number of great events that I would like to report on. I have also uploaded over 55 pictures at .

Saturday night my family drove out to Gulfport to attend a Menorah lighting in a park arranged by Ron and Wyatt Hall. The event was catered and sponsored by the Beau Rivage - a beautiful job. The Mayor of Gulfport (a great speaker) and other civic leaders were in attendance. The event was capped off with dancing as we watched the flames being whipped around in the wind. At the same time at Chabad of Metairie - Family Pizza and Game Night was taking place. Well attended and loads of fun as always - pictures will soon be up at .

Sunday evening heralded the 21st annual Chanukah @ Riverwalk celebration. Hundreds braved the wind and cold temperatures to watch the heartwarming lighting of the Menorah overlooking the Mississippi. Matza ball soup was being served at the Kosher Cajun food booth, while warm Latkes were enjoyed at the Latke bar. Rob Steinberg did a great job hosting and Councilman Arnie fielkow read a proclamation from the city council in honor of Chabad's Chanukah celebration. Attorney Bradley Egenberg lit the Menorah which towered over the crowd at 15 ft. Later that night a well attended party for Hebrew speakers was held at Chabad Metairie.

Monday night ushered in a brand new innovative program - the Celebrity Chef Latke Cook Off for young Jewish professionals. Held at the JCC uptown, the event featured Chefs from Emeril's, Domenica and Casablanca. Over 60 young professionals attended. The was great music and refreshments including some Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka compliments of Firefly and Matt Berman. Peter Seltzer lit the Menorah. Adam Stross MCed the evening, interviewing the chefs and the five judges. When all the votes were tallied, Phillip Mariano of Dominca was declared the winner.

On Tuesday night the annual Mobile Menorah Parade saw 18 vehicles with Menorahs mounted on the roofs riding through downtown New Orleans and the French Quarter. Passersby were delighted with the throws of dreidels and choco-gelt. Upon returning to Chabad uptown paraders were treated to a great party which was also the final Sheva Brachot for Tzivyah and Shloimy Greenwald.

Chanukah wrapped up with Wednesday night's Latkes on Skates at the Airline Skate Center. All in all it was an awesome 8 days of meaningful fun. Check out the pictures and enjoy.

Mazel Tov to Jody and Gilbert Braunig upon the birth of their son Max. Mazel Tov to Dina and David Voskovsky upon the Upshernish of their son Tzvi.

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