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Jump in the Hanukkah Time Machine and Gobble, Gobble Up Those Latkes

November 15, 2013


By Julie Lookatch, Family Engagement & Outreach Coordinator

CLICK HERE FOR FULL EVENT DETAILS - At Passover we say, “Manishtana - How is this night different from all other nights?” This year, for Hanukkah, we are saying, “How is this Hanukkah different from every other Hanukkah we will ever know?” The answer, my friends, is Thanksgivukkah.

This year, we light the first candle of Hanukkah on the night before Thanksgiving. According to the internet sages, these two holidays will not converge again for over 70,000 years.

So our family programming team wondered, “How can we make this year’s big JCC Hanukkah Community event something really special, befitting of this once in a lifetime occurrence?”

Back in August, we started by deciding that if this is a truly a community-wide event, we should invite the other Jewish agencies in our community to not just show up at the event and set-up a booth, but to really be a part of the planning of the Hanukkah program. And so we did, and were we ever pleased with the result! Representatives from area synagogues, the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, Jewish preschools and day schools and social action groups have attended meetings for the past three months and helped us revamp the way we have been planning this event.

So what will be new and different?

The date and time. For as long as I can remember, the Hanukkah event has been on a Monday evening. In our discussions, we talked about how this event is one of our community’s biggest outreach events of the year. Reaching out to the Jewish community in Milwaukee needs to include reaching beyond the North Shore to families in Bayview, Grafton, Brookfield. Would you want to drive across town on a Monday night from 4-6? So, the idea came about to move the Hanukkah program to Sunday. Now this year, that is a bit of a challenge since it puts us on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, but the committee agreed that this was the best date when considering all of the factors. So, mark your calendars for Sunday, December 1 from 10:30am-1:00pm. Set aside your leftovers and come gobble, gobble up those latkes!

Outreach. We will be reaching out to the Bayview, Brookfield and Mequon communities with PJ Library events and grocery store events in partnership with Roundy’s. Anyone who attends one of these events will receive Hanukkah candles as well as a raffle ticket for Laugh It Up Milwaukee tickets that must be turned in at the Hanukkah event on December 1.

        • PJ Library Goes to Bayview (Up, Up and Play), Sunday, November 3 at 10:00am
        • Toddler Tales & Treats at Metro Market Brookfield-Bluemound, Monday, November 18 at 4:00pm
        • Toddler Tales & Treats at Metro Market Mequon, Tuesday, November 19 at 11:00am


The way we run the program. Traditionally, each organization gets a table, and they bring their own project or activity to set-up and do in their space. This year, our committee told us that they would rather see all of us working collaboratively, as a whole community, rather than each on our own. The committee has come up with the activities and projects we want to have that go with our theme, and each organization will supply a certain number of volunteers. So at any given booth, you may see a group of volunteers working it and one is from Congregation Sinai and one is from Tikkun Ha-Ir and one is from MJDS, for example.


The theme. Our committee got very excited about exploring the idea of the History of Hanukkah or Hanukkah through Time so we look forward to presenting our community with the Hanukkah Time Machine! Not only does this theme give us an opportunity to learn more about this holiday, but it gives us an opportunity to mark this very special Thanksgivukkah celebration and honor its place in time. I’m sure you can imagine what some of the time periods might be starting with the time of Judah Maccabbee, where the story began, all the way up to today and beyond – get ready to jump in the bounce house and picture yourself celebrating Hanukkah on the Moon!

What is the same?

Food! – JCC Food Services Director, Jonah Levenberg, and his team will be presenting us with a festive holiday brunch. They will be selling some fun little holiday combos like latkes with applesauce… or cranberry sauce.

Activities, Art, Movement, Music – this will still be a kid-friendly, family friendly fun event with lots of old favorites in addition to some of the new ideas. Everything will just be assigned a time period, like the moon bounce or Maccabee sports or latkes in the shtetl.

So, here are the key things we want you to remember:

NEW DATE: the Sunday after Thanksgiving, December 1, from 10:30am-1:00pm at the JCC

FUN: the event will be filled with crafts, activities, sports, music and food for all ages to enjoy

COMMUNITY: This event is not just the JCC’s Hanukkah Celebration, it is the community’s Hanukkah celebration and we are very excited to be the hosts of this incredible collaboration.

If you have any questions about the December 1 Hanukkah Time Machine Event,

please contact a member of our Family Engagement Team

Rabbi Shari Shamah 414-967-8229

Rachel Greenspan 414-967-8343

Sarah Ruiz 414-967-8185

Julie Lookatch 414-967-8230