Hannukah Helpers Family Mitzvah Party by Robin Ungar

It’s that time of year again for the Menorahs, candles, spinning dreidels, gelt, potato latkes, jelly donuts, and of course, presents, because what would Hanukkah be without all of these things? Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the second century B.C.E. during the Maccabean revolt against oppressive Greek rulers.

  Family Mitzvah       

On December 14, Jewish Family & Career Services (JFCS) was abuzz with 30+ parents, grandparents and children at the Family Mitzvah event, funded by the Carole & Larry Goldberg Family Mitzvah program, which provides intergenerational activities for families with children to promote Tikkun Olam.

This event coincided with Hanukkah Helpers, a joint program between Temple Shalom and JFCS, to provide gifts for Jewish children whose families need help to provide food and necessities.  Similar to the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, Hanukkah Helpers pick a paper dreidel at Temple Shalom from a wooden Menorah, handcrafted by Matthew Karr, which lists the age, size, needs and gift ideas of each boy or girl. Volunteers wrapped the presents.

 Unloading the truck

The Brian Goldberg family donated a truck to transport the gifts to JFCS, and Allen Guenther volunteered as the driver. Volunteers also helped to “schlep” bundles of clothing and gifts for 55 children from 21 Jewish families in need of help during the holiday, then stayed for the Family Mitzvah party.  Folks at the party distributed the gift bags around the JFCS board room, children colored pictures, played dreidels, and parents and older children filled family bags with latke mix, gelt, applesauce and candles.  Three new families also received menorahs.

Musical entertainment was provided by Bill Ryan, who is a volunteer and JFCS board member, and Ellen Shaikun also sang and played guitar. The event ended with a great performance of Rachel Ryan showing us her magnificent Irish dancing skills.

Volunteers attending were Tami Penner, Eileen and Emily Renco, Laura and Eden Ungar, Sherry Kaufman and her grandchildren – Julia Geer, Robyn & Jacob Kaufman, Steven, Sandie, Ron, Tiffany, Amy, Kyler and Spencer Meeron, Bill, Amy, Haley and Rachel Ryan, Carole Goldberg and granddaughters – Suzie and Lori Joels,  Myrle, Jennifer and Max Davis, Lisa and Rachel Goldberg, and Lisa LaReau.


This event would not have been as successful as it was if it wasn’t for the generosity of the whole community, as well as the great team work of Sheilah Abramson-Miles, Temple Shalom Hanukkah Helpers coordinator and The Women of Temple Shalom.

I thought it was a great turn out and got the impression that everyone had a great time and really enjoyed themselves. My highlight of the event was Rachel demonstrating her Irish dancing.         

Let the light of your Hanukkah candles shine through you.

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