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|‘Festival of Lights’ celebrates diversity|
|Written by Jim Farmer|
|Friday, 07 December 2012 00:00|
The annual “Festival of Lights” Hanukkah celebration, held at the LGBT-inclusive Congregation Bet Haverim on Dec. 14, promises activities to appeal to all ages under the overall theme of diversity.
Hanukkah is an event that can often seem to appeal more to children than adults, according to CBH Executive Director Amy Robertson. She and the staff are looking to change that.
“In our early years, we didn’t have a lot of children here, but over time we have had more and more families,” says Robertson. “We want to make the evening one where everyone can have a great time.”
The night begins with a traditional latke dinner at 6 p.m.
“It’s on a Friday and we didn’t feel people could come home and cook, so we are providing the latkes here,” she says.
Side dishes are suggested, however, for the potluck event.
A community menorah lighting follows, then the children and adults separate for different programming. The adult service will be led by CBH Rabbi Joshua Lesser.
Closing the night will be a serving of donuts and a game of Texas Hold ‘em Dreidel. The dreidel – a spinning top with Hebrew letters on all sides – is normally used as a children’s game, but Robertson promises a version for everyone, not just the kids.
This year’s “Festival of Lights” theme is diversity.
“Diversity is the origin of Hanukkah,” she says. “There has been a lot of religious intolerance both within and outside the Jewish community. We are trying to focus on the celebration of diversity.”
Bet Haverim was founded by gays and lesbians as a place where Jews can be themselves and bring their entire family. Robertson is a longtime member of the Bet Haverim and has been on staff now for five years.
The congregation is roughly half LGBT members and half LGBT allies, she says. Robertson expects approximately 200 at the holiday event.
Top photo: Rabbi Joshua Lesser will lead Hanukkah services at LGBT-founded Congregation Bet Haverim. (File photo)
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