Jewish community wraps up Chanukah
Deborah Clemens, of Wilson, lights the menorah at her family’s table during the 32nd annual Chanukah party of the Jackson Hole Jewish Community on Saturday night. Photo by Ashley Wilkerson/Jackson Hole DailyView our entire photo gallery >>
By Johanna Love, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
December 9, 2010
With bellies full of latkes, about 70 people of all ages struck a match and lit menorahs Saturday to celebrate Chanukah at the Old Wilson Schoolhouse Community Center.
Aviva Thal, 14, said there was a warm feeling in the room.
“We all know each other so well,” Thal said, “it’s such a community thing.”
The Jackson Hole Jewish Community began celebrating Chanukah with a party more than 30 years ago, group president Al Zuckerman said.
“That was one of the first Jewish events we would have in the valley,” Zuckerman said.
The gathering, then held at Dr. Brent Blue’s house, led to the formation of the Jewish Community here.
“It offers one more affirmation of the Jewish culture at a time of year when there’s Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays,” Zuckerman said. “It brings all the families together here; it’s a family-oriented holiday.”
Children with the community’s Hebrew School sold special bundles of gelt, chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil, made custom by Ciccolatto for the occasion. The money they raised will help buy supplies and books for the children who study the Torah and Jewish religion each Thursday. During Saturday’s party, kids and adults alike nibbled on the chocolates and spun the dreidel.
Chanukah celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the victory of the Maccabees over the Greco-Roman empire, Zuckerman said. Although there was only enough oil to fuel the flame in the temple for one day, miraculously, it burned for eight. So traditional Chanukah foods, such as potato pancake latkes, are fried in oil.
On Saturday, the fourth day of Chanukah, the Jewish Community members lit the worker candle on each menorah, then the four right-hand candles to mark the first four nights of the holiday. On Wednesday, each family in its home finished lighting all nine candles on each menorah to commemorate the last day of the holiday.
For more information about the Jackson Hole Jewish Community, visit www.JHJewishCommunity.org. or call 734-1999.