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Brooklyn Is Showered With Hanukkah Gelt

Read this article on Courier

When Brooklynites of the Jewish faith light the first candle on the Menorah on December 15th at sunset, they will be participating in a tradition that goes back over 2,000 years.

Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah commemorates the miracle whereby — after the Jews recaptured the temple in Jerusalem from the forces of the despotic Antiochus IV –enough oil to light the temple’s Menorah for but a single night lasted for eight.
For this reason, this joyous holiday is a time to enjoy traditional treats prepared in oil – latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganyot (jelly doughnuts), for example. It’s also a time for fun – the dreidel game is one example, as is the more recent tradition of giving gifts or money (gelt, sometimes in the form of chocolate coins) to the children in the family, one for each night of the holiday.

Indeed, in Brooklyn, the fun spreads around the borough.

At the Jewish Children’s Museum an exhibit entitled Maccabees highlights the history behind the holiday. Open from November 26th through January 7th, the exhibit provides interactive opportunities for youngsters to travel back in history (using what’s described by the museum as “a nutty professor’s time machine”) to tour ancient Judea in the era of Antiochus IV.

Children can help light a giant Menorah, dress up as Maccabees and participate in the events of the time. The exhibit, says museum Director Gershon Eichorn, provides, “An atmosphere where participants are not on the outside looking in. They are an actual part of the story. Each child will really feel the Syrian-Greek challenge to the Jews, and take personal pride in the Maccabees’ miraculous victory.”

The museum is located at 792 Eastern Parkway. Log onto or call 718-467-0600 for tickets. The museum is open from Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. General admission is $10 per person; children under two are admitted free. Admission to The Maccabees only is $10 per person; a combination ticket admits visitors to the museum as a whole and the Maccabees for $15 per person.

On Thursday, December 14th, beginning at 7 p.m. the Yeshiva of Manhattan Beach will host its annual Harlem Wizards basketball game. The event, said Fund-raising Coordinator Linda Handlarsky, is done every year by the Yeshiva to coincide with Hanukkah. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door. The game will be held in the Yeshiva’s seventh floor gymnasium, at 60 West End Avenue. For further information, or to purchase tickets, call 718-743-5511.

Brooklyn’s largest Menorah, measuring 29 feet in height, will be lit in Grand Army Plaza each night of Hanukkah. The event, which is sponsored by the National Committee for Furthering Jewish Education, Congregation Bnai Jacob and Chabad, will offer live music, latkes and gifts for the children. On Friday, the Menorah lighting will occur at 3:30 p.m.; on Saturday, at 7:15 p.m., and at 6 p.m., Sunday through Thursday.

On Brighton Beach Avenue,
music and noshing will
accompany a Menorah lighting
hosted by the Friends of Refugees
of Eastern Europe

On Brighton Beach Avenue, music and noshing will accompany a Menorah lighting hosted by the Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe. The event will take place next to the Washington Mutual Bank, at Brighton 11th Street, every night of Hanukkah except Shabbos. On Saturday night, it will start at 6 p.m. It will start at 4 p.m. on Sunday, and at 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

On Sunday, December 17th, the Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst, 7802 Bay Parkway, will throw its annual holiday party from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. The event will feature a variety of family-oriented activities, including games, projects, music, performances and, of course, good stuff to eat. Admission is $3 for members, $5 for non-members, with a $15 maximum per family. For further information, call 718-331-6800.

Also on Sunday, December 17th, the Kings Bay Y, 3495 Nostrand Avenue, will host a family Hanukkah celebration at 11 a.m. Among the highlights will be entertainment, food and games. Admission is free, but donations are requested. For further information, call Zhanna Beyl at 718-648-7703, extension 223.

Congregation Beth Elohim, 274 Garfield Place, will have a Hanukkah party on Sunday, December 17th, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. According to Nancy Rubinger, the executive director of the congregation, the party will feature lots of doughnuts, as well as dancing. Cost is $5 per person, and people of all ages are welcome, said Rubinger.

The party will follow a candle lighting on the temple steps, which will also be done each weekday at about 5:30 p.m. “We’d love the community to join us for the candle lighting and to sing songs, and, of course, there will always be doughnuts,” Rubinger remarked. For further information, call the synagogue, at 718- 768-3814.

The Madison Jewish Center will also be hosting a Community Menorah Lighting on Sunday, December 17th, at 4:45 p.m. at the Madison Triangle. Attendees are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to be given to a hospitalized child.

At the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, young children can enjoy A Hanukkah Celebration, on December 17th from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The event, which is part of the MetLife Early Learner Performance Series, will feature songs and stories centered on the holiday. Wendy Sayvetz and Sam Perkins will perform Hanukkah music and Klezmer-style Jewish folk music.

The museum is located at 145 Brooklyn Avenue, and is open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $5 per person, free for members and children under one year of age. For further information call 718-735-4400 or log onto www.

The Atlantic Center, at 625 Atlantic Avenue, will also be celebrating Hanukkah on December 17th, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Details were not available at press time.

On December 18th, at 5:30 p.m., Borough President Marty Markowitz welcomes Brooklynites to Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, for the lighting of a giant Menorah. While plans for the event have not yet been finalized, there will be live entertainment and refreshments, according to Markowitz’s spokesperson, Brian Vines.

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