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Chanukah Recap & Photos

Friday, 30 December, 2011 - 11:42 am

We are a mere few days from the end of 2011. Many of us are considering our last minute tax deduction options. I would encourage you to take a moment and go to www.chabadneworleans.com/donate and become a partner in the work of Chabad in our community. It is an investment that you will not regret and it is tax deductible as well.

A very full Chanukah holiday ended yesterday. I would like to share with you some of Chabad’s holiday activities. Pictures of the events can be viewed at www.chabadneworleans.com/1717473 and www.jewishlouisiana.com.

On Tuesday, the first night of Chanukah, the Mobile Menorah Parade rolled through New Orleans – our theme – Occupy NOLA with the Chanukah lights. In all of the years that we have been parading, I do not recall such an energetic response from the “street.” One of the lead vehicles had Jewish music blasting forth and a bunch of teenagers throwing Happy Chanukah beads from the back of the truck. As passersby heard the music and looked up to see the 18 vehicle parade with Menorah lights blazing from the rooftops of the cars, they responded with great enthusiasm. It never ceases to amaze me how much people enjoy catching beads… The after party at Chabad Uptown was enjoyed by all of the parade goers.

Latkes on Roller Skates took place on Wednesday night at Airline Skate Country. Skating and refreshments were capped off by Menorah lighting and Jewish music. Later that evening a group proceeded to light the Menorah at Lakeside Shopping Center.

Chanukah @ Riverwalk was held on Thursday (see our previous blog for details on braving the rain). Despite some significant hardships and bad weather earlier in the day, it ended up being a beautiful event attended by over 500 people. The Olive Press workshop drew much interest as folks learned how to make oil. The usual hot latke bar was a big hit and 1,000 latkes were distributed. A great Kids Corner offered art, games and face painting. At the Food Court the Jambalaya was dished out in record time. Two thirds the way through the event there was nothing left. The Happy Chanukah beads and light-up Menorahs were wildly popular at the info table. The actual ceremony featured 4 ex-New Orleanians who returned after Katrina to rededicate and rebuild – very apropos for Chanukah, which means rededication. Sara Attias did a great job as MC and a presentation featuring David Rittvo, Rebecca Begtrup and Peter Seltzer along with Maccabi Torch bearer, Hila Ben-Shabbat, ushered in the actual lighting of the Menorah. Alan Franco brought greetings on behalf of the Federation and Frank Quinn represented Riverwalk. I had a great time launching a pair of Chanukah beads into the crowd, who wasn’t expecting this mister to throw them something. Over all it was a wonderful atmosphere and a festive experience.

Saturday night was the Israeli party. In addition to local Israelis, many of the Israeli mall salespeople attended from as far as Baton Rouge. Great food and music and a great time for all. The scavenger hunt that kicked off Chabad Metairie’s Sunday Game night was certainly unique and well enjoyed. Clue seekers were greeted all over Metairie by costumed friends hurrying them off to the next stop. A competitive game of Chanukah Jeopardy challenged the great minds in the room to propel their teams to victory.

A nice Chanukah party for J-tweens on Monday night had the girls fashioning their own dreidels and baking fresh donuts. I finished the week with a trip to the Ft. Polk Army base for a Chanukah event on the last night of the holiday along with Wyatt Hall.

On the Coast there was a nice beachfront celebration featuring a Menorah lighting organized by Wyatt Hall with the support of the Beau Rivage, who also had a Menorah in their lobby all season long.

All in all it was a very busy but very special week in celebration of the great holiday of Chanukah.

Shabbat Shalom and have a safe New Year’s weekend.
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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