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First Night and Into the Light – Highlights from the POC/JOC Hanukkah Party

On December 22nd Kehilla Community Synagogue hosted a POC/JOC Hanukkah Party. About 30 people attended the special event held in the Fireside Room. Parents, children, partners and siblings attended, as well as folks from the greater Jewish community. While Elanna and Jon prepared the latkes in the kitchen, people began to arrive, mingle and fill the table with delicious food. There were loads of hanukkiahs, so even though it was first-night, the room was aglow with all of the candles burning brightly. Bekkah Scharf graciously led us with the candle blessings, and encouraged the group to share Hanukkah songs from their own traditions. It was delightful to look around the room and see people with every skin tone represented, hear different languages being spoken, and be in a space where we could find another face like our own. This is how I envision the future of Kehilla, with spaces where People of Color see themselves and feel connected. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share this event with everyone and look forward to watching our community grow.

There are so many details to keep track of and moving parts to oil when organizing an event. I would like to thank all of the people who helped make this gathering a success: The Latke Crew: Ellana Rodman-Mueller, Aaliyah Gamble and Jon Levin; Pre-event coordination, sage advice, email wrangling and event photos by Amy Mueller; Bekkah Scharf for leading us in prayer and best Hanukkah themed shirt; Room set-up, clean up and event photos: Quentin Levin and Tyler Jeffreys; Supplies and admin support – Rabbi Dev, Rabbi Gray, Natalie Boskin, Maya Joshua and Dee Ward; Room set-up/breakdown by Josef Straub plus a big thank you to all of the parents, partners and friends who pitched in with delicious potluck dishes, origami and dreidel help at the craft table, as well as clean up.

Ruthie Levin, POC Coordinator
Kehilla Community Synagogue


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