A big crowd of families and friends of Oholei Yosef Yitzchok Lubavitch of Crown Heights gathered to light the 5th Chanukah candle and celebrate Chanukah with their children.
For a few years now, Oholei Yosef Yitzchok Lubavitch of Crown Heights has gathered their entire school community of students, parents, educators and friends for a Chanukah celebration with a public Menorah lighting. The program included a children’s rally with a raffle and fun Chanukah activity booths. Each child had an opportunity to decorate doughnuts and edible menorahs, paint wooden dreidels, construct a leather pouch for their Chanukah gelt, make their own beeswax shamoshim, string art their own dreidel design, make beeswax lip balm and an edible menorah!! The Menorah was ignited by Rabbi Meir Kabakow, OYYL Parent. The event was accompanied by a milchig buffet served by Mozzarella restaurant.
The evening’s festivities concluded with three Chanukah prize raffles. The first prize drawn was for a special Rebbe coin that was given on Chanukah Nun Alef.This coin was graciously donated for a raffle by Sharon Albukern. The tickets for the raffle were sold as a part of the Crowdfunding Campaign which OYYL held in the beginning of Kislev. All participants who bought 3 bricks, $180 each, were entered into the raffle. The lucky winnerto win the Rebbe’s coin is Mazoltuv Borukhova! The latter two prizes – a dinner for two at Mozzarella and a year’s tuition for one child – were raffled for parents who had met their goal for the fundraiser and the winners were Babinett and Gewirtz Families.
“The 5th candle carries a very special light,” says Rabbi M. Schneiderman, OYYL Educational Director. “The 5th candle never falls on Shabbos and the light which is brought down on this day can elevate even a very deep darkness! We are very happy to gather our yeshiva community, on this Shnas Hakhel, during these trying times to unite and celebrate this light and the timeless miracle of Chanukah.”
“It was a truly beautifully arranged Chanukah Party,” says Mrs. L. Goldshtein, OYYL Preschool Director. “Delicious food, fun, engaging and meaningful hands-on workshops for the children and a joyous rally with prizes! The spirit of the Chanukah miracle filled everyone and everything through and through! This powerful light revealed at such a special 5th night of Chanukah will definitely be a strong chizuk for all participants! A big Yashar Koyach to all organizers!”
“This Chanukah celebration was an experience. We were so excited to put together this program for the kids and their parents, lighting the lights of Chanukah and sharing them with the community, bringing together unity and care. From the booths to the food, we had in mind a fun and pleasant environment. It was really a great experience for all involved, every detail had a purpose,” says Sophia Serur, OYYL office manager.
“We are very grateful to Hashem for giving us our Rebbe who is inspiring us to invest in the chinuch of our children. We feel very blessed to serve such a beautiful community and look forward to developing this project further both in quantity and quality,” says Mila Schneiderman, OYYL Administrative Director.
Chanukah and Chinuch
Though there are a few explanations for the naming of the holiday of Chanukah, the teachers at Oholei Yitzchak Lubavitch are most compelled by its etymological link with the Hebrew word for education–chinuch. The message of the Chanukah story – beyond its depiction of the triumph of good over evil, freedom over oppression, and light over darkness – is that Hashem will help those who wish to do a mitzvah betachlis hahidur. For, despite that the mitzvah of sanctifying the temple could have been accomplished with oil that had been rendered impure, Hashem performed a miracle that allowed the Cohanim to find pure oil with which to light the menorah in the Beis Hamikdash.
Hashem made a dwelling for himself in the Beis Hamikdash. So too, Hashem wishes to dwell in each and every one of us. And, just like the Beis Hamikdash was re-sanctified in the most deliberate and careful way, the education of our children ought to be carried out with a rigorous and time-proven approach. In education, betachlis hahidur denotes an approach that impresses upon each child the uncompromisable and unwavering knowledge that their yiddishkeit is their connection to Hashem.
In this way, we can be assured that “even when he is old he will not depart from it”; even when our children grow up and go out into the world, their Torah education will be a part of them. They will view any challenge to their fulfillment of the mitzvos as an opportunity to grow in their connection to Hashem.
As the Chashmonaim fought for the rededication of the Beis Hamikdash even to the last seemingly inconsequential detail, so too must we hold firm to our educational values. As have our Rebbeim, so must we, with resolve and confidence, advocate for each and every aspect of the education of our youth.
A Seedling Becomes a Tree
Once a seed has matured into a fully grown tree, any scarring on its trunk or branches leaves but a small mark on the whole organism. If, however, the seed itself is blemished, the entire growth of the tree is at risk. Such blemishing has the potential to occur through improper education of our children regarding the importance of their yiddishkeit. A compromise in matters of chinuch at a later age may be relatively insignificant, but a compromise when our children are young – when they have yet to develop deep root systems and sturdy trunks – has the potential to jeopardize our children’s connection for years to come.
The Candle of Hashem
Each child ought to be “educated according to his way” and without compromises. And so we are taught in the Chanukah story. We must not search for leniencies when establishing the firm ever-true foundations of our children’s Torah education. We must instead rely on Hashem to provide us with the pure unadulterated light of Torah to illuminate the neshomo of each and every child. A candle is compared to a mitzvah, and Torah to light, and so Oholei Yosef Yitzchak Lubavitch is committed to ensuring the development of a pure and everlasting light in each and every student.
It was a wonderful event for families with kids.
Well organized. Delicious food, pleasant music, plenty of Chanukah Projects for kids, Chanukah Menorah contest, raffles and prizes.
We need more of this type of events for our community, especially for those who appreciate events in authentic Chassidic spirit.
Thank you OYYL.