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12/12/2012 09:45 AM Posted by: Nancy Pryzant Picus Poster Avatar
Chanukah is here! We lit the first candle Saturday evening at sunset, and continue to celebrate Chanukah’s themes of freedom and heroism through Sunday, December 16, at sundown.

The Hebrew root of the word “Chanukah” means dedication. Interestingly enough, that root is also the basis for the Hebrew word chinuch, education or m’chanechet, educator. The connection between the two words is clear to me as an administrator at The Shlenker School: our staff of educators is devoted to our children and dedicated wholeheartedly to their education and growth. So here are some suggestions for celebrating Chanukah that honor education, our educators, and Jewish learning:

1. Read a Jewish book together. There are many wonderful books about Chanukah available not only in our school library, but also in the public library and, of course, in bookstores. But don’t forget other Jewish topics, such as folk takes, Jewish humor, or Torah stories. Children love stories, and what better way is there to educate them–and ourselves–about our rich tradition?

2. Read a Jewish book for yourself. Call me or our librarian for a suggestion.

3. Explore a Jewish website with your child or by yourself. Here are some ideas:

- www.urj.org: This is the web presence of The Union for Reform Judaism. It has information about Jewish holidays, customs, and current events.
- www.g-dcast.com: This website is home to short animated videos based on Torah portions, holidays, and Bible stories. It’s great for your older elementary children.
- www.myjewishlearning.com: This website is the place to go when you have a question about Judaism or Jewish practice
4. As a family, learn about a Jewish ritual object, such as a Seder plate or Havdallah candle and then make one together. The best part will be using it together.

5. Make a donation to one of the PTO’s educational funds or The Shlenker School in honor of your child’s teachers.

6. Volunteer together during the December vacation. Your family can deliver meals to elderly clients through Meals on Wheels, or pay friendly visits to residents at Seven Acres or other area nursing homes. This is a wonderful way to live our core values of tikkun olam and community.

7. Start planning your family trip to Israel. On December 23, Rabbi Millerand I and a group of eight Shlenker and Beth Israel families will depart for a family adventure in Eretz Yisrael. As soon as we return, I know I will begin looking at dates for our next family trip.

8. Write a letter with your child to his/her teachers to let them know how grateful you are for their love, hard work, and dedication!

May your Chanukah be filled with light, joy, blessing, and dedication to Jewish life and learning.

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