On the early evening of Sunday, Dec. 10th, it surely felt like we could have used Noah’s Ark to travel to Congregation Or Atid’s Hanukkah community celebration.
While it seemed like the rain was coming down in buckets, inside the sanctuary, beautiful music filled the air, and the room was adorned in shimmering Hanukkah decorations.
Attendees in the sanctuary were treated to the extraordinary talents of local singer/songwriter, Susan Greenbaum and Chris Parker, on percussion. Susan and Chris performed a variety of traditional, contemporary, and original Hanukkah music.
Attendees, of all ages, sang and clapped to their upbeat and entertaining Hanukkah songs. We were so lucky that they made time in their busy schedules to perform for our synagogue and community.
In one of Susan’s introductions to a song, she was setting the mood for the coming winter and mentioned the possibility of rain turning to snow that night. She was spot on!! The next morning, we surprisingly woke up to a blanket of snow on the ground.
While the event was originally planned to include the second annual candle lighting of the “Living Menorah” outside in the Congregation Or Atid’s Gan Chesed Kindness Garden, the weather precluded this part of the program. However, instead congregants and guests brought their personal menorahs for a community-wide menorah lighting. The entire back section of the sanctuary was filled with tables which displayed dozens of menorahs, of various, sizes, shapes, and themes.
Rabbi Sherry Grinsteiner led the lighting of all the menorahs, including providing an introduction about why we celebrate Hanukkah and the significance of lighting candles on the menorah at this time. After the candle lighting blessings, the room shone bright with the glimmering of all the candles. This was nothing less than a magical moment.
The evening concluded with lots of traditional Hanukkah refreshments. The doughnuts seemed to be a huge favorite. There were also tables set up for kids to participate in a variety of arts and craft activities.
Everyone at the event seemed to really have a lot of fun. We hope that at next year’s Hanukkah program, the weather will allow us to light up the “Living Menorah” in the garden.
A huge thank you goes out to Rabbi Sherry Grinsteiner and to the event organizers: Philip Perchetz (program chair), Ira Korshin, Barbara Hirshorn, Bob and Shira Ledman, Alex Mendez-Zfass, and Gal Birnbaum.
Congregation Or Atid’s Gan Chesed kindness garden is supported, in part, by a generous contribution from the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond.