Amazing Riverwalk Story, Chanukah Recap

Friday, 26 December, 2014 - 3:19 pm

Dear Friend,

I received this email from Rabbi Shmuel Kaufmann of Montreal, Canada about Chanukah @ Riverwalk 2014 and I am sharing it with you.

“We had a Chanukah party at the Gordon home (members of our community) at which Mrs. Robin Gordon told me the following story. Robin's mother, Norma Crossman and husband were on a cruise that had a four day stop in New Orleans. The first night of her stop was also the first night of Chanukah and she was feeling depressed. She was surrounded by “holiday cheer” and here it was the first night of Chanukah and she had nothing Jewish. So she wandered around the French Quarter trying to distract herself from her sadness. Then she heard something that sounded like a party. She assumed it was a private holiday party, but she decided to check it out anyway. Imagine her surprise when she stumbles upon Chanukah @ Riverwalk :). She was thrilled beyond belief! She told Robin that Chabad had this party by the river and there was dancing dreidel and latkes and music. She said it literally saved her Chanukah.

Chanukah 2014 was an especially festive and busy holiday. I would like to give you a recap of some of Chabad’ events and celebrations. Photos of many of the events can be viewed at and

In advance of Chanukah the Olive Press Craft Workshop was offered at schools and Synagogues across the region. The Olive Press is a part of the Living Legacy Series, a project underwritten by the Goldring Family Foundation. This year the Olive Press was presented at Stepping Stones Montessori, Temple Sinai of Lake Charles, JCC Nursery, Bnei Israel of Baton Rouge, Touro Synagogue, Young Audiences Charter School, Chabad Hebrew School and Woldenberg Village.

The Return of Chanukah @ Riverwalk took place on Tuesday, December 16, the first night of Chanukah. The picturesque backdrop of the Mississippi River and beautiful weather combined to lay the ground for one of the most special Chanukah @ Riverwalk celebrations. There was a real feeling of coming home. The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk really outdid themselves to be welcoming and made working on the event a pleasant experience. The event featured a host of great activities and booths, including the Dreidel House Children’s Activity Center, Irina the Facepainter, the Latke Bar, Kosher Cajun Kosher Food, the Information Booth and the Make Change Menorah benefiting victims of terror in Israel. A concert by Yoel Sharabi was enjoyed before and after the ceremony. The dancing dreidel man really kept the place lively throughout the night.

The ceremony was emceed by Vivian Cahn and featured Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Carly Plotkin of Riverwalk, Morris Bart, event co-sponsor, Morton Katz of Federation, Danny Shani of Rosh HaAyin, David Anderson of First NBC – corporate sponsor, Rabbi Zelig Rivkin of Chabad and finally, David Halpern, event co-sponsor, who lit the Menorah. Additional sponsors included, Lakeside Toyota, Taxicabapp by Carriage Group and Ooh Lala Music. Each of the speakers projected the electricity and the specialness of the event, a feeling echoed by many of the nearly 500 participants.

An electric Menorah was also lit at Lakeside Shopping Center for the duration of Chanukah as in previous years.

The Celebrity Chef Latke Cookoff for Young Jewish Professionals was held on Thursday, December 18 at Chabad Uptown. 70 attendees enjoyed the Latkes crafted by the three chefs, Belinda Dahan of Waffles on Maple, Orit Naghi of Mardi Gras Zone and cookoff champion, Sam Melamed. The lighting of the Menorah, raffle prizes, dreidel games, food and beer, schmoozing and networking capped off a wonderful evening for all.

That same night a Chanukah party was held in Baton Rouge for the Israelis working at the Mall of Louisiana.

Chabad of Southern Mississippi, directed by Rabbi Akiva and Hannah Hall, held their inaugural Chanukah event at the Edgewater Mall with over 50 people in attendance. Dreidel man put in another appearance while the participants enjoyed a Menorah lighting, music, latkes and sufganiyot along with crafts for kids. For photos see

Saturday night brought the Mobile Menorah Parade. 15 vehicles equipped with Menorahs or Chanukah flags paraded through uptown New Orleans, the CBD, the French Quarter and the Marigny while bystanders had chocolate gelt and dreidels tossed their way. The traditional after-party at Chabad Uptown for the parade-goers was thrown by the Kehaty and Schreiber families.

On Sunday night the Chanukah party at Chabad Metairie was for Israelis. A delicious BBQ, Menorah lighting, music and group game as well as a great story by Rabbi Nemes made it a wonderful evening.

On Monday afternoon a short Chanukah party was held at Lambeth House. After the Menorah lighting ceremony, the residents were treated to a mini-concert by the Rivkin children who then passed out dreidels, after which everyone enjoyed the Chanukah refreshments.

The Chanukah family party at Chabad Metairie was on Monday evening featuring a dairy dinner, Menorah lighting, children’s program, adult Chanukah challenge and fun for all ages.

The monthly Lunch N Learn with a Chanukah menu and topic was on Tuesday at New York Camera. Chanukah was capped off on Tuesday night with a Rosh Chodesh Society gathering.

A DVD of this year’s Chanukah @ Riverwalk event is available for purchase at a reasonable price. Please contact Malkie Rivkin – [email protected] for details.

This weekend is the 5th of Tevet, a day that has become known as Jewish Book Day. Many Jewish booksellers offer major sales over this weekend. offers a 50% sale on most of their items. To learn why this day is special for books and to see a newly released film “A Movement on Trial” join the farbrengen Saturday night at Chabad Uptown – 7:30 PM.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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