AARC Triumphantly Lights Up Hanukkah Amidst the Pandemic

Photo Credit: Rebecca Kanner

I can’t be alone in feeling that our small community is getting pretty good at finding ways to celebrate the Jewish year online. Hanukkah 2020 was a triumph of spirit, fostering a depth of connection over the web that many might have thought impossible a year ago. I am inspired by our community’s commitment to stick together and create meaningful experiences for one another during this difficult time.

AARC Hanukkah celebrations kicked off with a lively evening hosted by members Sharon Haar and Robin Wagner. Following candle-lighting, we learned the online party game Psych! (“trivia meets cards against humanity”) under Sharon and Robin’s instruction. The hallmark of this very well-attended event was FUN!

Our congregation collaborated for socially-distanced Hanukkah celebrations twice: once with the Jewish Federation, and again with Temple Beth Israel. It was a joy to share in the celebrations with the larger Jewish community of Ann Arbor.

On Sunday, members Carol Levin and Idelle Hammond-Sass hosted an “Art and Midrash” workshop centered on the Hanukkah story. This well-loved duo will be continuing their Art and Midrash series throughout the winter and spring–more details to come!

Marcy Epstein led a candle lighting and lively yet challenging night of Hanukkah based trivia. Attendees were also delighted with Marcy’s musical gifts of Hanukkah song and prayer.

On the fourth night of Hanukkah, member Etta Heisler followed her candle-lighting with a dramatic reading of Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel and Trina Schart Hyman. Children and adults alike were charmed by Etta’s narrative prowess and varied character voices!

The seventh night found us at the “Latke vs. Hamentaschen” debate hosted by Rabbi Ora. It was a heated debate with a real humdinger at the end. We will have to see if the outcome changes during Hanukkah next year – new AARC tradition? – or perhaps also on Purim!

Rena Basch won the prize for the best props! Photo Credit: Rebecca Kanner

We wrapped up the week with a family candle-lighting hosted by Beit Sefer director Clare Kinberg. The students recited prayers and sang classic Hanukkah songs with the community. The Beit Sefer night was a sweet way to wrap up a busy week of community events.

Thank you to everyone who hosted a Hanukkah event and to everyone who attended! This great season of celebration is one we can recall with great fondness next Hanukkah, when we hope to be together in person again.

Photo credit: https://www.pikist.com/free-photo-svuyq