Gathered in a small dining room in Forest Hill Place, 35 residents of the retirement home were delighted to partake in a Chanukah party, which on Monday afternoon celebrated the 5th night of the Festival of Light. Led by Bambi Katz, the two other volunteers from Holy Blossom Temple, that included Paula Warren and myself, Michael Ryval, we reminded them of the significance of this holiday and shared stories and songs that echoed throughout the room.
After Bambi explained how the festival commemorates the history of the Maccabees and their valiant fight to restore and reconsecrate the Temple, she asked the residents to recall their favourite moments of Chanukah when they were children. Not surprisingly, they spoke of the memorable treat of eating latkes and spinning dreidels and earning Chanukah gelt as their reward for winning dreidel contests.
After watching us light the Chanukah candles and joining us in singing the blessings, the residents enjoyed eating sufganiyot, or deep-fried donuts stuffed with raspberry jam. Then a few also tasted the chocolate inside the Chanukah gelt that was passed around. As the ceremony concluded, many residents clapped and said how much they appreciated the visit from our synagogue.