Khanike / Chanukah at Shule!
On the fourth day of Khanike, 150 of our Shuleniks and broader BWC community members, gathered together to celebrate the work of bringing light as the days grow shorter and creating community space in this especially heartbreaking moment in Israel/Palestine with the war. Char Skidmore, our Shule Committee Chair, MCed along with Jonah Sidman, our music teacher, who both led us in song.
First, the Alef and Beyz classes showcased their learnings of a Khanike and winter song by kicking us off with a Yiddish/English mash-up of “I had a little dreidel” and Ikh Bin A Kleyner Dreydl. The students re-wrote the english lyrics including: I had a little dreydl/ I made it out of legos / and when it’s built and ready/ I’ll go and eat some bagels.” before singing
Oy, dreydl, dreydl, dreydl, oy, drey zikh, dreydl, drey. / To lomir ale shpiln, in dreydl, eyns un tsvey.
Which means: Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, oh dreidel, dreidel, spin. / So let’s all play dreidel, one and two.
The students had been learning Yiddish vocabulary with Jonah through a song Der Vinter Iz Gekumen, the winter is coming. As they sang their song they modeled their understanding of the vocabulary through hand motions for vinter [winter], shney [snow] and a freestyle interpretation of tentsl (dance)
Following the songs, each class in our Shule sent up representatives to help build our human Social Justice menorah (out of pool noodles and shimmery paper flames taped to the tops, of course!). Each class offered a wish to bring light to the places of darkness, making the world a brighter besere velt by holding a “candle” and sharing their wishes. Some of this year’s wishes were:
- A world in which people have “the ability to learn anyway they want”
- “an end to the war in the middle east between Gaza and Israel, and peace between them, and a ceasefire to come soon”
- “to help end climate change”; “for injustice to end for everyone and everything”
- “that people won’t get pushed out of their homes, and if they have to move that they have resources and translators in the US. We believe in this because our ancestors struggled to come into this country.”
- “world peace, cats and infinite wishes”
- “that everyone has what they need and the ability to choose what they want.”
The Zayen class then stood up and lit the wax and wick candles in our Khanike lempl (chanukiah or menorah) while reciting the traditional Hebrew blessings in the language of the Torah, the Ladino translation of the Hebrew and the secular Yiddish poetry for the 4th day. We finished the ceremony by thanking all the volunteers, the Shule committee, the board members who joined, and our teachers who work so hard every session to bring jewish culture to life for our students.
Our Shule community welcomed Ali Rice, our new deputy director who shared about her passion for supporting the financial health and sustainability of Jewish Social organizations. She also shared that she works as a matchmaker on the side. Mona Pollack, our Alef teacher, shared how our Shule community can support migrants that have recently arrived seeking asylum by donating clothing, diapers and formula. The BWC’s Immigrant Justice Committee is coordinating this work along with BIJAN, Boston Immigration Justice and Accompaniment Network. We are so excited for this partnership which speaks to our roots as a mutual aid society helping recent immigrants and bringing the efforts of the many generations of our community together!
With our wishes expressed and rooted in our connection to our community, we paraded after the Good Trouble Brass Band to dance to some fantastic music..
By the end of the event, dozens of sufganiyot (Khanike donuts), including allergy free ones. This year, we also were able to sell fair-trade Sindyanna of Galilee olive and the kids sized BWC t-shirts bearing our 1905 principles “We fight capitalism, sickness and premature death” which can now be proudly worn by our Shuleniks.