To me, Chanukah is primarily about two things: family and food. When I was growing up, we were a small family of four. We'd light the candles and, as kids, get really excited about the presents. Now that my own children are grown, what I most enjoy is their coming home and all of us being together. We gather as a family—my children, our parents, cousins, aunts and uncles, and friends. It's no longer primarily about the presents; now it's more about the people.
The people...and, of course, the food. According to my kids, there is a certain menu that is "expected" to be served on specific holidays. For Chanukah, they, of course, look forward to potato pancakes. Also on the "required" menu is chicken soup, noodle pudding, and brisket. I haven't actually pointed it out to them, but the menu has, in fact, morphed over time. Each year I change one thing, to keep it fresh and new (I even have them eating brussels sprouts and kale these days!). We don't eat the way we used to—we eat more healthily, and some recipes just needed a refresh.
I think about all of these things—the people, the food, the traditions, the things we do differently and those we keep the same—as I write to the JCC community to wish everyone a joyous Chanukah. The people, because that's what we are all about. Each of the programs we are offering this Chanukah season at the JCC are geared toward bringing people together. Whether it's lighting the Chanukah candles as a community in the lobby or joining us for any of the programs we are offering, the point is that no one should be alone, and that we are here to be together and build community around celebratory Jewish times.
And the food—well, unfortunately, I can't invite you all over to my home, but I can share the update on Nana Carmel's brisket recipe: pulled brisket on a bun, which we're sharing in the "treats" section of our holiday website, along with other recipes to make at home.
Wishing everyone a happy Chanukah filled with the lights of the season, as well as good health, great food, and time filled with family, friends, and the community we build together at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan.
Spectacular Healthy Israeli Food for Chanukah
Mon, Nov 26, 7-9:30 pm, $85/95
Vegetarian Chanukah Dinner: Pancakes, Latkes + Risotto
Tue, Nov 27, 7-9:30 pm, $85/$95
Eight Treats for Eight Nights: Around the World for Chanukah-20s + 30s
Thu, Nov 29, 7-9:30 pm, $95/$105
Sweet + Savory Latkes for Chanukah
Fri, Nov 30, 2-3:30 pm, $45/$55 for one adult and one child
$20 each additional child or adult
Light Inside Out: A Spiritual Journey into Chanukah
Mon, Dec 3, 7:15-9 pm, $15/$18
Infants + Young Children Chanukah Celebration
Tue, Dec 4, 3:15-4 pm, Free
Seniors Chanukah Candle-Lighting Party
Wed, Dec 5, 3:30-5 pm, Free
20s + 30s Annual Chanukah Party
Thu, Dec 6, 8-11 pm, $25 in advance; $30 at the door
Yolka with a Jewish Twist!
Fri, Dec 7, 6-7:30 pm, $18; children under 2 free
LGBTQ Family Dinner + Chanukah Party
Fri, Dec 7, 6-8 pm, $18; children under 2 free
Night 1 - Sun, Dec 2, 5:15 pm
With the Adaptations community
Night 2 - Mon, Dec 3, 5:15 pm
With Drum Circle with Shoshana Jedwab
Night 3 - Tue, Dec 4, 5:15 pm
Hosted by Camp Settoga and Day Camp @ the JCC
Night 4 - Wed, Dec 5, 5:15 pm
With a pop-up musical revue of Fiddler on the Roof with the National Yiddish Theater. A Great "Miracle of Miracles" will Happen Here!
Night 5 - Thu, Dec 6, 5:15 pm
Led by Engage, with a dance performance by the JCC Hip-Hop Performance Team and Israeli dancing led by Tamar
Night 6 - Fri, Dec 7, 1 pm
Symbolic candle-lighting in observance of Shabbat
Night 7 - Sat, Dec 8, 5:15 pm
Night 8 - Sun, Dec 9, 5:15 pm
Democracy Sunday candle-lighting, led by The Joseph Stern Center for Social Responsibility