By Chanita Teitz
This past Shabbos, erev Chanukah, we had all our “local” children and their families for lunch. Since two of our daughters will be going to their in-laws for Shabbos Chanukah, I decided to do Chanukah early and have a pre-Chanukah Shabbos. Of course it is always difficult for us and for our Israeli kids to miss out on these family gatherings, but we sent them a Chanukah package, which my daughter Deedee took care of for me. The kids were very excited to come home from school on Friday and find a package of nosh and jelly doughnuts.
Since I usually host one or at the most two families at a time, having everyone for lunch on Shabbos was a real treat. It was also a perfect opportunity for me to speak, which I occasionally do at family gatherings. I get to say whatever I want and they were a captive audience because I told them, “No dessert until I finish!”
I started with some questions for the little ones. “What chag is starting after Shabbos?” Aron, one of the twins, said, “Chanukah!” Then I asked, “Why do we celebrate Chanukah?” This time Moshe, the other twin, answered, “To get our presents!” That was my teachable moment and I wasn’t going to lose it. Even though it is great to get presents, it wasn’t the answer I was looking for. And then I asked the question again. This time Shoshana said, “Because of the oil that lasted for eight days.” Now we were on to something, heading in the right direction. The kids were sure we were finished and ready for dessert when I asked another question. I asked them what the other nes, miracle, of Chanukah was and another of our guests answered, “The war the Jews won against the Greeks.”
I didn’t want to leave it at that. I wanted to stress to everyone, but especially to the grandchildren, that the miracle of the small Jewish army winning against the larger, more powerful Greek army was a nes that Hashem continues to do for K’lal Yisrael even in our day. So often young children think that all the things that happened in the “olden, olden days” have no relevance to them. What connection do they have to events that happened in ancient times? They need to know that in our own times, the Jews in Israel are still fighting much larger armies.
Even though the Israeli army is strong and well trained, it goes against all the laws of logic and nature that our small nation still exists. Hashem is still delivering the rabbim into the hands of the me’atim—the many into the hands of the few.
Take advantage of every opportunity to pass on your beliefs and values to your children and grandchildren. Happy Chanukah!
The Program Committee of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, in conjunction with the Women’s League, invites all men and women to a Chanukah Oneg on Friday evening, December 14, at 7:30 p.m. featuring a talk by Gavi Hoffman on the topic “Bayamim Haheim, B’zman Hazeh: How the Fight of Chanukah Never Really Ended.” Refreshments will be served.
Celebrate Chanukah with the Havurat Yisrael family Saturday, December 15, 6:30 p.m. with the spectacular presentation of Avi the Kosher Clown. The best clown in town will be at the party with magic show, balloons, games, stories, singing, lighting the Menorah, sufganiot, food, gifts, arts & crafts, and a grab bag. Cost: Individual $18; Family (2 adults 2 children 5-12 ) $32; Additional Child $7. 68-60 Austin Street #7, Forest Hills, 718-261-5500, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your family’s safety is in your hands: ReadyNY: Getting Prepared for Emergencies in NYC, an important and informative lecture given by Ira Tannenbaum, Director of Public/Private Initiatives, New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM). Tuesday, December 18, 8:00 p.m. at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, 70-11 150th Street. (A free community program from the Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association.)
Rabbi Israel D. Rosenberg Educational Institute of Congregation Etz Chaim presents a shiur ha’chodesh for women by women, monthly on Wednesday evenings at 7:45 p.m. The next shiur will be held Wednesday, December 19, at 7:45 p.m. at Congregation Etz Chaim, 147-19 73 Avenue, Kew Gardens Hills. Deena Rabinovich will speak on Judith and Hanna: The Unsung Heroes of the Hasmonean Rebellion. Suggested Donation: $5.00.
The 5th Annual Asara B’Teves program will be held on Motzaei Shabbos, December 22, at 8:00 p.m. at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills. Welcome by Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld. Introductory remarks by Mr. Ephraim Berger, lecturer for Project Inspire. Guest Speaker: Rabbi Hanoch Teller, world-renowned author, educator, and lecturer. Admission is free. Parking available at Yeshiva Central Queens. For more info, please call 718-440-5352.
On Monday, December 24, at Young Israel of Hillcrest, 169-07 Jewel Ave, 8:00 p.m., Rav Mayer Twersky: “What Should We Want for Our Daughters?”
8:45 p.m., Rav Mordechai Willig: “The Best of Times, The Worst of Times: Dealing with the spiritual and material gaps in our community.”
Mazal Tov . . .
To Mr. and Mrs. Menachem Kluyov of Kew Gardens Hills and Mr. and Mrs. Eliyahu Babekov of Kew Gardens on the marriage of their children Yael and Menashe.
To Mr. and Mrs. Mark Mittel on the engagement of their son Dovid to Adina Burstein of Far Rockaway. v
Chanita Teitz is a real-estate broker at Astor Brokerage, with offices in Kew Gardens Hills and Fresh Meadows. For all your real-estate needs in Queens, call her at 718-263-4500 or e-mail email@example.com.