2008-12-19 / Front Page

Spirit of Hanukkah shines brightly

By Eliav Appelbaum eliav@theacorn.com

JANN HENDRY/Acorn Newspapers BRINGING LIGHT TO DARKNESS—Camarillo Boys & Girls Club member Nick Fassl, 12, a seventhgrade student at University Channel Islands Middle School, lights Hanukkah menorah candles with Rabbi Aryeh Lang of the Camarillo Chabad during a Hanukkah program presented by the Chabad on Dec. 15. Lang told the students that, in the way a single candle can illuminate a dark room, a single good deed can bring joy to others. The holiday begins Sunday at sunset and ends Dec. 29. JANN HENDRY/Acorn Newspapers BRINGING LIGHT TO DARKNESS—Camarillo Boys & Girls Club member Nick Fassl, 12, a seventhgrade student at University Channel Islands Middle School, lights Hanukkah menorah candles with Rabbi Aryeh Lang of the Camarillo Chabad during a Hanukkah program presented by the Chabad on Dec. 15. Lang told the students that, in the way a single candle can illuminate a dark room, a single good deed can bring joy to others. The holiday begins Sunday at sunset and ends Dec. 29. Sunday evening marks the beginning of Hanukkah, the "Festival of Lights," which will last until Mon., Dec. 29.

The Chabad Jewish Center of Camarillo will celebrate the first night of the Jewish holiday in a public celebration from 4 to 6 p.m. Sun., Dec. 21 at Constitution Park, 1287 Paseo Camarillo.

In the recent past, Chabad celebrated at the outlet center mall. This year will be a little different.

"We thought Constitution Park is a perfect venue," Rabbi Aryeh Lang said. "This is a joyous event."

Mayor Don Waunch and other local leaders are expected to participate in Chabad's menorah kindling ceremony, the first at the city's park. Lang said the kindling ceremony on the first night of Hanukkah will be dedicated to the 188 victims of the November terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India.

Temple Ner Ami in Camarillo will celebrate the holiday with a potluck dinner at 6 p.m. followed by a service at 7 p.m. Fri., Dec. 26.

Rabbi Mike Lotker said children will have a chance to light menorahs with adult supervision.

"One of our congregants is a firefighter—we'll make sure he attends," Lotker said with a laugh.

During the religious service, congregants will sing traditional songs and some amusing Hanukkah parodies the rabbi wrote, Lotker said.

Temple Ner Ami planned several educational programs for its Hebrew school students this week.

Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday that celebrates the underdog Maccabees' victory against King Antiochus and the Greeks, who persecuted the Jews and outlawed the religion. Lang said there are similarities between the story of Hanukkah and the history behind the formation of the United States.

"This country was founded on a belief that people would have the religious freedom to practice their faith," the rabbi said.

Lotker said the world knows details about Hanukkah because of the Catholic Church. The story of the Maccabees' revolt is not in the Torah, the Jewish Bible, but it is found in the Apocrypha, a series of books included in the Roman Catholic Bible.

Sunday's Chabad festivities will begin with live klezmer music and a smattering of traditional food, including latkes and sufganiyot, or jelly doughnuts. There will also be activities for children, including a juggling act, crafts and spinning dreidels.

The Gan Camarillo Preschool will have a Hanukkah party for children ages 2 to 5 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Mon., Dec. 22.

On Wed., Dec. 24, from 4 to 6 p.m., there will be an olive press workshop and Hanukkah party for children ages 5 to 15 at the Chabad preschool, 2222 Ventura Blvd. Children will learn how olive oil i s made and light the menorah using the freshly made oil.

There will also be a Hanukkah celebration at Ventura Harbor from 2 to 4:30 p.m. on Sun., Dec. 28.

On the last day of the holiday, Mon., Dec. 29 at 2 p.m., Chabad will host a party for seniors at its center, 5800 Santa Rosa Road.

The celebration will include food, live music and a symbolic lighting ceremony.

All events are free and open to the public.

Earlier this week, Lang spoke to members of the Camarillo Boys & Girls Club, sharing with them the message of the holiday, that even one good deed by a single person can have a positive affect on many others.

Lang said the 150 students in attendance suggested small deeds which they could do to spread joy.

Those suggestions included a promise by Tawny, a club member, to donate to Locks of Love; a promise from Autumn Rose, another club member, to give money to orphanages; and a pledge from Dylan to give presents to children whose parents have lost their jobs.

"Whenever there's a disaster, an act of terror, or with the economic difficulties going on in the world, this is a time for everybody to come together and add light that's a symbolism for all the good deeds," Lang said. "For every night of Hanukkah, we want to add a little more light to the dark world. That's the message of Hanukkah."

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