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Religious School Shares Chanukah Spirit

Temple Beth Elohim's Children learned the meaning of Chanukah and put their lessons into action.

Chanukah ruach, or "spirit," filled the air for weeks at

During the weeks that preceded the TBE teachers were busy teaching the customs, stories and traditions of the holiday that began on the eve of December 20, 2011.

Chanukah commemorates the rededication of the Temple after the Macabbean revolt. On Sunday, Dec. 18 – TBE began the celebration of Chanukah with a  magic show featuring Bill White, a magician who entertained the children with magic, jokes and lots of humor.

TBE children are taught the Mitzvah (commandment) of giving. During this season, many children of varying faiths aroundn the world await the holidays in anticipation of receiving their favorite toys, technological equipment and clothes.

TBE children were asked to donate a toy to be given to the John Theissen Foundation for sick and underprivileged children and the response was overwhelming. The children understand the meaning of bringing goodness and sharing with those in need. During the celebration, the children tasted latkes (potato pancakes) and jelly doughnuts, customary foods that are special and symbolize the miracle of oil. 

Classrooms were filled with children , a game enjoyed by all, young and old. It is customary to play for money, so each child received a bag of chocolate Chanukah gelt (coins -not necessarily money).

On Tuesday, Dec. 20 and Thursday, Dec. 22, children and teachers gathered together as a community to light candles on the Chanukkiyah (Chanukah Menorah). On the first night of Chanukah, the blessings were recited as the candles were lit. A special blessing called the Shehechiyanu was also recited.

This blessing is only recited on the first night of candle lighting indicating our celebration has arrived. TBE children filled the sanctuary with pride in being Jewish and being able to share together the miracle of Chanukah.

Temple Beth Elohim is a Reform congregation serving the Plainview - Old Bethpage and surrounding communities since 1955.

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