Chanukah 2012 Recap

Monday, 17 December, 2012 - 3:18 pm

Chanukah 2012 was an amazing (and exhausting) experience. Before I recap Chabad of Louisiana’s Chanukah programs, I want to express my horror and sorrow over what took place in Newtown, CT. My cousin Sholom Deitsch, Chabad Rabbi in nearby Ridgefield, put it this way in an exchange with CT governor Dannel Malloy, who asked, “Rabbi, today is Chanukah, it was supposed to be a brighter day.” Rabbi Deitsch replied, “Chanukah is a time that light overpowers the darkness. We will get through this as a community, but for the families, the tragedy is unfathomable. We will be there for them."


December 6: A Pre-Chanukah Jewish Women’s Circle event. The event featured Letters of Light – the art of Anna Gil, music by Ruth Navarre, a workshop on essential oils and creams by Jen Sachs and an inspiring talk on Chanukah by Malkie Rivkin. Pictures can be viewed at

December 8: On the first of Chanukah a party was held at Chabad Metairie for Israelis. There was a great turnout for the BBQ and social event. The Menorah was kindled by Dr. Gideon Levy, a patient awaiting a liver transplant at Ochsner. Pictures can be viewed at

December 9: On the second night of Chanukah, Chabad Metairie held their annual Dairy Dinner and Game Night. Once again a great time was had by all both at the pre-party scavenger hunt and the event itself. Pictures can be viewed at

December 10: Chabad @ Tulane held a Public Menorah Lighting on the Quad – over 150 students were in attendance and there were hot latkes for everyone. Later that evening the JCC held their annual dinner and concert – which is always well attended.

December 11: Chanukah @ Lakeside debuted with a bang. Well over 350 crowded into the Pottery Barn Entrance to the mall. The was a hot latke bar, crafts and face painting for the children, “make a change” Menorah collecting for hurricane Sandy and southern Israel relief, Chanukah beads courtesy of Mardi Gras Zone, a dance revolution machine, and Jewish music filling the area. Mentally Hyp’s Paul David Carpenter entertained young and old alike with his magic show. MC Marisa Kahn introduced a very enthusiastic Jefferson Parish President John Young who welcomed the celebration to Metairie and emphasized that it was a regional celebration that drew participants from the MS gulf coast to Lafayette and Monroe. Johnny Lake brought warm greetings on behalf of Federation and Rabbi Zelig Rivkin spoke on the theme of the evening. Jill Halpern addressed the Make a Change Menorah concept asking for everyone’s participation in that worthy cause. Morris Bart then ascended to kindle the 11ft Menorah while Haim Dahan sang the blessings. There was an electric feeling in the room and everyone sensed that this would be the beginning of something special. If you enjoyed the event please email your appreciation to Lakeside Marketing Director, David Colomb - [email protected] or call 504-835-8000. Pictures can be viewed at

December 13: The Celebrity Chef Latke Cookoff for Young Jewish Professionals was held at the Uptown JCC in cooperation with Moishe House. Over 65 young adults participated in a great event. Featuring chefs from Domenica, Boucherie and Café Hope, the latke presentations were outstanding. Against the backdrop of great food and beverages, a Menorah lighting and the cookoff contest, several prizes, including a Google Nexus, 2 Art Menorahs and a Handbag, were raffled off and a game of human bingo was thoroughly enjoyed. In the end the five judges determined that Melissa Marie Martin of Café Hope was the winner, with Nathanial Zimet of Boucherie and Allison Birdsall of Domenica hot on her heals. Pictures can be viewed at

December 15: The Mobile Menorah Parade definitely made it into the twitter world as dozens of French Quarter and Marigny partygoers were delightedly snapping and uploading pictures of the Mobile Menorah Parade that ran this past Saturday night. An after party was held at Chabad Uptown for the parade participants!

For me two very meaningful Chanukah interactions that I had were on Facebook. The first: After I posted a picture of a Menorah in front of the offices of New Orleans Carriage Cab, a woman that I know posted back a picture of her own Chanukah menorah saying “Menorah at my house. Thanks to Chabad I have candles :-).” The second: A friend of mine is traveling in India this month. Before he left I gave him two Menorah and candle sets, telling him to use one and give the second to a Jew that he finds in India. One night of Chanukah he posted a picture of him lighting his Menorah. When I commented on that picture he replied, “and I found another Jew in Jaipur to give the other menorah to!”

I hope you had a happy and meaningful Chanukah as well. Enjoy the photos!
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin


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