As the weather gets colder, Jewish families are spinning dreidels, wrapping presents, cooking latkes, and preparing to light menorahs in celebration of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights.
Synagogues across Prince George’s County are preparing Hanukkah celebrations for members of their congregations, and for any who wish to join them.
The first night of Hanukkah this year is Dec. 20.
Mishkan Torah Synagogue in Greenbelt will host a Hanukkah party for members at 6 p.m. on Dec. 21 to celebrate the second of eight nights of giving. For a $5 entrance fee, guests can enjoy latkes and a performance of the Hanukkah story in the presence of friends.
For those closer to Laurel, Oseh Shalom Synagogue will hold several activities, starting with a dinner on Dec. 16, to celebrate Hanukkah. Students in the synagogue’s Hebrew school will celebrate the holiday throughout the week.
If you’re looking for that perfect, last minute Hanukkah gift, check out the gift shop at Beth Torah Congregation in Hyattsville. The shop, located in the lobby of the building, offers an array of things remembered, including mezzuzahs, kiddush cups, jewelry, holiday tableware, Hanukkah menorahs, children's books and toys, kippot, and other Judaic and secular items.
But at Ohr Kodesh Congregation in Chevy Chase, a spectacular Hanukkah celebration has been in the making all autumn long.
For the first time ever, Ohr Kodesh will host the “Festival of Lights” musical at 7 p.m. on Dec. 25. The musical, performed by the Sandy Spring Theatre Group, is about an “American Hanukkah,” according to Dennis Concepcion, facility and technology manager. Tickets are on sale for $18 per adult and $5 per child on the Ohr Kodesh website.
In addition to the performance, Ohr Kodesh will host their annual Hanukkah celebration and dinner from 5 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 12. There will be free activities for children, menorah lighting and a ceremony to recognize the congregation’s involvement with the nation-wide Houses for Change project, according to Jessica Simon, the congregation’s assistant for youth, education, and family programs.
The congregation gave house-shaped boxes to 180 students after Simon, the rabbis and church schoolteachers discussed with students what it means to have a ‘home,’ Simon said.
The students decorated the boxes and used them to collect money, which will be donated to N Street Village—an organization that aids homeless women in Washington, D.C.