Oh Chanukah, Oh Chanukah!

December 3 – On Monday, December 3rd, the entire Pardes student body gathered in the Sanctuary to…”come light the menorah” and celebrate the Festival of Lights. The school wide celebration included a chanukiah contest, faculty skit, and dreidel contest followed by Sufganiyot, jelly donuts, a traditional Chanukah staple.

The entire sanctuary was abuzz with energy and excitement as Morah Lauren Mishlove talked about the holiday. Everyone quieted as she lit the candles after which the room filled with happy youthful voices chanting the prayers.

Students were eager with anticipation as Mr. Flatow announced the Chanukiah Competition. He outlined the criteria for a kosher menorah which include that the shemash must be higher than the rest of the candles, all other candles must be on the same level and the chanukiah be usable (including being fire safe!).  Each entry was a true piece of art and every participant received a certificate. Third place went to Shayna R. who created a unique and mathematically accurate “Math Menorah”. Second place was awarded to Yehuda H. for his beautiful beach shell chanukiah and our first prize winner was Yosef H, who designed a rainbow and  heart inspired chanukiah.

Following the competition, eight teachers (dressed as different colored candles) joined Mr. Flatow (the shemash) in performing a skit where they revealed the meaning of Chanukah. “With our little light we are reminding people a miracle occurred,” explained one teacher.

The Dreidel Spin Competition was another raucous event, with students cheering on the competitors who were gathered around a table.  The Lower School winner was Ben S in fourth grade. Seventh grader Emma L was the Middle School champ and overall school winner.

The annual Chanukah Celebration is just one example of how Pardes nourishes meaningful Jewish identity while creating opportunities for students to establish strong bonds and lifelong friendships.