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Happy Hanukkah

Supplement to Jewish News December 5, 2016


Hanukkah 5777

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Hanukkah gift ideas for newcomers to the tribe Julie Wiener

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(MyJewishLearning via JTA)—Do you have friends or family members who are new to the tribe? Maybe they recently converted, married a Jew or became newly interested in their Jewish roots? Or maybe you’re the newbie and are wondering what to put on your wish list. Whatever the particulars, MyJewishLearning has you covered, with Hanukkah gift ideas designed to please the Jewish newbies in your life.

Kiddush cups For something flashy and unique—or for someone who is a bit germ-phobic—try a Kiddush Fountain, which pours the wine or grape juice into individual cups. Amazon and other retailers have a wide variety of styles and price points.

Cookbooks

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Amelia Saltsman’s The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen ($20.23), Leah Koenig’s Modern Jewish Cooking ($23.33) and chef/restaurateur Michael Solomonov’s Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking ($21) all offer traditional Jewish and Israeli standbys adapted to contemporary tastes and sensibilities. Each was published recently (reducing the possibility that your recipient already owns it) and garnered positive reviews in mainstream and Jewish publications. Meatballs and Matzah Balls ($27.95) is not quite as new—it came out in 2013—but will be of particular interest to Jewish newcomers since its author, Marcia Friedman, is a Jew by choice who combines Italian (she is half Sicilian) and Jewish cuisine in creative and tasty ways.

FairTradeJudaica offers an array of Judaica items produced by artisans in developing countries. These certified fair trade items are not just beautiful, you can rest easy knowing the workers received fair pay in safe conditions and that no child labor was used.

Other kitchen goodies Maybe your Jewish newbie wants to make challah, but is a bit intimidated by the braiding. A silicon challah mold ($14) simplifies the process. Meanwhile, someone making the transition from Christmas cookies to Hanukkah cookies might appreciate a set of Hanukkah-themed cookie cutters ($1.60).

Hanukkiyahs, or menorahs What’s more fitting for Hanukkah than a menorah? Just make sure you give this

16 | Jewish News | Hanukkah | December 5, 2016 | jewishnewsva.org

one early in the holiday, so the recipient gets to use it this year. A convenient option is a compact travel menorah, perfect for someone who wants to celebrate the holiday outside the home.

Shabbat candlesticks For something traditional and inexpensive, try some pewter ones (Amazon has them) that come with a plate for catching the wax drippings.

Mezuzahs From online outlets to local retailers to synagogue Judaica shops, options abound to purchase mezzot. They come in various sizes and styles and are made of myriad materials. Bear in mind that not all have a scroll, so you (or your recipient) might need to purchase that separately.

Jewelry A silver Star of David is simple and matches everything. And a custom-made Hebrew necklace is a great option for a Jew by choice who wants to show off his or her new Hebrew name (and newfound Hebrew literacy). —Julie Wiener is managing editor of MyJewishLearning.


Hanukkah 5777

New Hanukkah Forever Stamp gets warm reception at dedication ceremony Article and photos by Laine Mednick Rutherford

M

usic, dance, and a few, brief history lessons were part of the buildup which led to the colorful unveiling of the United States Postal Service’s 2016 Hanukkah Forever Stamp on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk. An enlargement of the stamp was placed center stage, covered by a drop cloth, which remained in place until midway through the heartfelt stamp dedication ceremony. Master of ceremonies Joel Rubin gave the 11 am event a celebratory tone, respectfully introducing guest speakers and performers while building anticipation about the stamp’s “reveal.” Program dignitaries included the Air Force Langley Honor Guard, singer Rashida Robinson, Minister Sabrina Wooten and dancer Shannon Stokes. Chrysler Museum director Erik Neil welcomed the audience, Richard Bennett, Jr., Postmaster of Virginia Beach and Diana Branch, Postmaster of Norfolk gave the stamp dedication and closing remarks, respectively.

Virginia Beach Postmaster Ricky Bennett and Joel Rubin.

The local Jewish community was well represented at the ceremony, from guest speakers to audience members. Among the rabbis and other clergy who attended were Cantor Wally Schachet-Briskin of Ohef Sholom Temple who performed a special Hanukkah song, and Rabbi Dr. Michael Panitz who discussed some of the historical relevance of the holiday. Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander also attended the ceremony.

Once unveiled, the stamp elicited applause. Simple, yet elegant, the design features a menorah—or more correctly the audience learned, a h anuk iah—w it h nine, lit candles, positioned as if it’s inside a room, looking out on a snowy scene which contrasts with the warmth of the flames. Following the dedication, audience members showed their appreciation for both the attention given to the holiday and the look of the stamp by purchasing multiple sheets of stamps to use this holiday, and for years to come. Classed as a Forever stamp, it can be used to mail First Class letters with no additional postage, even when postal rates increase.

Rashida Robinson, manager Customer Service, Driver Station U.S. Postal Service; Diana Branch, Postmaster of Norfolk, U.S. Postal Service; Erik Neil, director Chrysler Museum of Art; Richard Bennett, Jr., Postmaster of Virginia Beach, U.S. Postal Service; Rabbi Michael Panitz; Joel Rubin; Minister Sabrina Wooten, Calvary Revival Church; Cantor Wally Schachet-Briskin.

Rabbi Michael Panitz and Cantor Wally Schachet-Briskin.

Read more about the stamp’s design by visiting http://tinyurl.com/j4a8tyw. Purchase the Hanukkah Forever Stamp at local post offices, online at www.usps.com, or other area locations. To see more photos from the stamp dedication ceremony, visit www.fb.com/ UJFTidewater/photos.

Cantor Wally Schachet-Briskin.

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Spinach Salad with Quinoa, Toasted Pistachios and Cranberries

Hanukkah 5777

Here’s a Hanukkah menu with a healthy flair—and latkes Megan Wolf

(JTA)—Hanukah is a celebration, a joyful holiday with delicious food and family memories. I remember lighting our menorah as a little girl with my bubbe. Now, raising my daughter, I hope to create special memories with her. Food is typically at the center of our celebrations and this Hanukkah, I have created a spinach-focused menu for a delicious and festive meal. Starting with creamy white bean soup, inspired by my mother’s love for soup served in large mugs, this dish sets the tone for a deliciously healthy meal. Warm and satisfying, this dish is topped with jewel-toned sautéed spinach and is pretty enough to serve to company. And its’ easy enough to make on a weeknight.

SAY

Most people think about traditional potato latkes on Hanukkah. My Spinach, Broccoli and Scallion Pancakes with Poached Eggs are just as delicious—you can serve without the eggs, if you like. Growing up, we would enjoy sour cream and applesauce with our potato latkes. Sour cream (or greek yogurt!) would be a perfect pairing for these light, vegetable-filled pancakes. I like mine with hot sauce. Spinach Salad with Quinoa, Toasted Pistachios and Cranberries is among my favorite recipes from my cookbook Great Meals with Greens and Grains, with its interesting textures, bold flavors, and a bright and balanced dressing. It could not be easier to make and is sure to be a hit on your holiday table. Here are the recipes for these winning dishes.

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Serves 4 Ingredients For the lemon vinaigrette ¼¼ cup olive oil juice of 1 lemon 2 cloves garlic, pushed through a garlic press   or very well minced ¼ teaspoon salt For the salad ¼ cup quinoa 1 cup water ½ cup shelled pistachios 10 ounces baby spinach 1 medium Anjou pear ½ cup dried sweetened cranberries ½ cup pitted and sliced   Cerignola olives Salt to taste

Preparation: To make the lemon vinaigrette: Whisk the ingredients together. To make the salad: Combine the quinoa and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn down the heat to low, cover the pot and cook another 10 minutes, or until the quinoa has softened and the water has evaporated; set aside. Toast the pistachios in a small skillet over low heat until they are golden brown and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes; set aside. Place the spinach in a large bowl. Thinly slice the pear and add it to the bowl along with the cranberries and olives. Just prior to serving, add the toasted pistachios and cooked quinoa, toss with the lemon vinaigrette and season to taste with salt. Serve family style or in individual bowls or on plates Tip: Getting the garlic really finely minced or crushed will help the flavor dissipate, so that instead of biting into a piece of raw garlic, the salad is nicely seasoned with a garlic essence.


Hanukkah 5777

WE TAKE PRIDE IN EXCEEDING YOUR EXPECTATIONS.

Creamy White Bean Soup with Sautéed Spinach Serves 4

Ingredients 1 head garlic, top quarter sliced off and discarded ¼ cup olive oil, divided, plus more for garnish 1 tablespoon butter 1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced 2½ cups low-sodium vegetable stock, divided 1 dried bay leaf 2 cans (15 ounces each) white beans, rinsed and drained, divided ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese Salt to taste 5 ounces baby spinach Preparation Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place the garlic on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Wrap into a pouch and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and golden brown. In a large stockpot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add 2¼ cups of the vegetable stock, the bay leaf and 1 can of the white beans to the onions. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Once the garlic is roasted, add it to the soup by popping each clove out of its protective paper. In batches, transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, then pour the soup back into the stockpot. Add the remaining can of white beans, remaining ¼ cup vegetable stock and the Parmesan to the pureed mixture and heat through, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt. In a sauté pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, then add the spinach. Cook until completely wilted, about 4 minutes. To serve, pour equal amounts of the soup into each of 4 bowls and top with the sautéed spinach and an extra drizzle of olive oil. Tips: Make sure you are constantly scraping the bottom of the stockpot—that’s where so much flavor lives! Use the best olive oil you can find; it really makes such a difference, especially when used as a garnish.

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Hanukkah 5777 Spinach, Broccoli and Scallion Pancakes with Poached Eggs

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Serves 4 Ingredients For the pancakes 1½ cups chopped broccoli 4 cups packed baby spinach 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 3 eggs ½ teaspoon baking soda ¼ cup all-purpose flour ½ cup panko breadcrumbs ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese 4 scallions, thinly sliced, divided For the eggs 4 cups water 4 large eggs 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Preparation: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to heat. To make the pancakes: Steam the broccoli until tender but still crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes. While the broccoli cooks, saute the spinach in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet until wilted, about 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and roughly chop. In a large bowl, scramble the eggs, and then add the baking soda, flour, panko and Parmesan cheese; stir to combine. Add the broccoli, spinach and half the scallions. Mix to combine. Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and grease with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. With an ice cream scoop, place pancakes evenly on the baking sheet. Gently press the top of each pancake to flatten. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip and bake for another 2 minutes, or until the centers of the pancakes are cooked through. To make the poached eggs (start with about 8 minutes remaining on the pancakes): Boil the water in a large high-rimmed skillet. Once the water comes to a boil, crack each egg into its own ramekin. Add the white vinegar to the boiling water, reduce the heat to medium-low and drop each egg into the hot water. Cover the skillet and let the eggs cook for 3 minutes. Remove the pancakes from the oven and serve 2 or 3 to a plate depending on their size. Top each plate with a poached egg and a sprinkle of the remaining scallions. Serve immediately. Tip: If poaching all four eggs at once feels too daunting, try two at a time. Eggs cook quickly and this won’t greatly delay your meal.


Hanukkah 5777

How I learned to give up Christmas and love Hanukkah for what it is Randi Skaggs

(Kveller via JTA)—When people find out I’m a Jew by Choice (otherwise known as a convert), one of the first questions I get is, “Was it hard to give up Christmas?” The short answer is yes. Christmas seeps into your soul and is a primary part of every Christian person’s happiest childhood memory log. Could I give up a tree in the corner of the house? Red, green and gold presents heaped on a velvet skirt under the limbs? Stockings hung on the chimney mantle (or, in my childhood chimneyless home, on the wood paneling)? The carols! The mistletoe! The gingerbread houses! How could I give all

that up? It was a process, and one that I wasn’t too happy about at first. I won’t get into my reasons for choosing to be a Jew. But please rest assured, before I go any further, that this choice came after years of soul-searching, an intensive class taught by a wonderful rabbi, prayer after prayer, symbolic dreams and a happy heart. It had nothing to do with my husband, who happens to be a Jew. I just happened to mostly be attracted to Jewish guys, which I later found out is fairly common for those of us also attracted to Judaism. So, back to Christmas. My first Christmas as a Jew was incredibly difficult. All the traditions that

had, at one point, been my traditions, were others’ now, and I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. Although I’d never been too vigilant about decorating my tiny New York City apartment for Christmas, I suddenly found myself yearning for a tree and lights. I wanted to blast the carols and needed to make a batch of eggnog—stat! So I did what every good convert does—I clung onto Hanukkah like a life preserver. If I couldn’t have Christmas, by God, I’d make the most out of this other holiday. And frankly, that’s how I viewed it—the “other” holiday, the substitute Christmas. No tree? Well, then, I’d hang some blue and white lights around the window. No stockings? I’d find the most

beautiful menorah. No holly? An assortment of dreidels would have to suffice. We ate homemade latkes with applesauce and sour cream every night. I demanded we play dreidel all eight days—even though it was just Dave and me and no kids—and we ate the chalky gelt humorlessly. I wanted to give eight gifts, but Dave told me that was a bit extravagant for just two people, so we just gave one gift the first night. We sang the only two Hanukkah songs we knew—The Dreidel Song and Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah—on an endless loop and always at my request. I was trying to get that same Christmas feeling throughout it continued on page 22

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all, and it just didn’t happen. Finally, I gave up, bought a peppermint mocha latte at Starbucks and locked myself in the bathroom to sing Deck the Halls while weeping like an idiot. As the years went on, it got easier to view Christmas as belonging to others, but my love for Hanukkah was stagnant. Every year in December, I’d watch the evergreen go up, I’d hear songs about peace and joy in every store, and I’d resignedly polish our menorah and buy those tiny bags of overpriced gelt. When our daughter Stella came along, I had a newfound desire to make Hanukkah more meaningful, and I really put my back into it. We bought her eight gifts—one for each night—and the house was an explosion of Stars of David and dreidels. I plugged “Hanukkah songs” into Pandora and heard every instrumental version of The Dreidel Song you could imagine. And while my husband and my daughter seemed delighted by my efforts, I wasn’t as pleased. I still felt incomplete. I still yearned for that Christmas feeling, and I just couldn’t conjure it up via Hanukkah. Over time, I grew to like Hanukkah more and more, but it wasn’t until this year—11 years post my conversion— that I find myself yearning for Hanukkah, grateful for it, beyond happy that I’m a Jew during the Christmas season. What changed? I stopped trying to make Hanukkah into Christmas. I started to look at Hanukkah as the holiday it is—a minor one meant to light a spark in our hearts during this dark time of year and to reignite our pride in our Jewish heritage. It’s not as big a deal as Christmas because it’s not our major holiday. And now I absolutely love that about it. Which doesn’t mean I don’t have fun with it. We bought a cheesy electric menorah this year because Dave mentioned he had one as a kid and always loved it. We bought both of our kids eight gifts each and even have theme nights (book night, chocolate night, art supply night, etc.). We plan to eat latkes most if not all the nights, and I went to a local chocolate

store to buy the “good gelt.” We’ve already finished decorating our house, an effort led with seriousness and dedication by my seven-year-old and composed mostly of handmade crafts. And we have more meaningful activities planned. Like going to our local nursing home to light the menorah and sing Hanukkah songs with our older neighbors. We discovered, after some work, that there are more than two Hanukkah songs. We’ll meet up with our Jewish chosen family here for a few different parties—one at our beloved synagogue. Stella’s going to invite over her best friend, a sweet Catholic girl, to teach her about Hanukkah. And every single night, when I light the shamash candle, I will say a prayer that will have great meaning to me. It will be wonderful, fun and festive, and it won’t be Christmas. And while I’ll always treasure my childhood memories of Christmas, I’m relieved to be released of it now. My heart swells with love and gratitude at the coming of the holiday season. The carols in the stores make me smile and fill my head with sweet memories that I’ll treasure forever. One night, we’ll pile the kids in the car to look at the gorgeously decorated homes in our neighborhood, and we’ll drink some hot chocolate when we return. We’ll even gather with my Christian family around my mom’s sweet tree and watch our cousins’ faces beam with joy at the gifts we gave them. But what I’m most looking forward to is my two-year-old son’s look of wonder when all eight candles are lit, at watching my daughter hug an elderly woman who’s missing her own grandchildren, and singing Matisyahu’s Miracle and really meaning it when I belt out the words: “Eight nights, eight lights, and these rites keep me right, so bless me to the highest heights with your miracle.” —Randi Skaggs is a middle school language arts teacher and mother of two in Louisville, Kentucky. She is an avid storyteller and has won the Louisville Moth Grand Slam, and has performed in New York City’s Moth Ball honoring Louis C.K.


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jewishnewsva.org | December 5, 2016 | Hanukkah | Jewish News | 23


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Hanukkah 5777 Eight ways to celebrate Hanukkah that aren’t about the presents Rebecca Rosenthal

(Kveller via JTA)—We love Hanukkah. The message that the rabbis in the Talmud give about the holiday is that we light candles each night in order to increase the holiness in the world. What a beautiful idea—one that can be completely lost on children. We don’t expect them to be immune to the culture in which we live, but we want to help them understand that the miracle of Hanukkah is about bringing more light into the world, not filling their rooms with more stuff. So here are some ideas that have worked for our families for celebrating Hanukkah with kids that aren’t just about the presents.

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1. Decorate.  he mitzvah of Hanukkah is to publicize the miracle, both that the small Jewish army T defeated the large Greek army and that the small jar of oil lasted for eight days. Get the message out by decorating your house. Turn it into a family project by making your own decorations.

2. Do something for others.

Blessings be with you this festival of lights and always

Happy Chanukah

 he best way to publicize the miracle is to help others see the light in the world. Find T a project that you can do as a family that helps others in your community or in the world.

3. Donate your tzedakah. S earch your house for those coins that have been hiding in the couch all year. Find a cause that your family is passionate about and donate all that loose change. You’d be surprised how much it can add up to. Instead of presents every night, ask your family and friends to make a donation in your child’s honor.

4. Carve out time together. ommit to turning off your phones C and being present. Sing as many silly Hanukkah songs as you know, play competitive dreidel, and eat some latkes and jelly doughnuts.

5. Read Hanukkah books.

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 here are so many fun children’s stories T about Hanukkah. Both PJ Library and Amazon are great sources for finding books that will appeal to your child and the whole family.

6. Invite friends over.  onus points for inviting those friends B who have never celebrated Hanukkah. Make sure you brush up on the story before they arrive.


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7. Watch lots of Hanukkah parody videos. his is a personal favorite in my T family, where we watch videos from groups like the Maccabeats to Six13 to videos people made in their own homes (or offices, like we did). Feeling brave? Make your own.

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8. Make a new family tradition.  re there things you always wanted A to do in your city? Make a Hanukkah bucket list and do one each night. Or have a latke contest to see who can add the most creative ingredients to the traditional potato pancakes. Add something fun that you can do together as a family and share it with others.   And since we know that kids (and grown-ups!) still love to get presents, you can participate in a “get one, give one” plan so that each time your child is given a toy, they have to choose a gently used one to donate. Make it even more meaningful by taking your child to deliver his/her donation to a shelter or a hospital. Happy Hanukkah! —Rabbi Rebecca Rosenthal is the director of youth and family education at Central Synagogue in New York City. This piece was written in conjunction with Erin Bouchard, the family engagement project director at Central Synagogue.

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Hanukkah 5777

Created with love—Ohef Sholom Temple crafters sew one-of-a-kind quilts to give to JFS clients Laine Mednick Rutherford

T

he Leon Family Art Gallery wall on the second floor of the Simon Family JCC has been awash in both color and love the past few weeks. Twelve handmade, one-of-a-kind quilts showcased the craftsmanship of their creators, members of the Tzedakah Quilting Group, part of Ohef Sholom Temple’s Caring Committee. The four women who came to hang the quilts—along with their assistant, Marty Moody—experienced an array of emotions as they saw their pieces on display: accomplishment, compassion, amazement, pride and humility. Celia Friedman, Laura Gilbert, Marsha Moody and Paula Russel began working on the quilts last January, using donated machines stored in the Norfolk synagogue. Other women joined, too, some

veteran quilters or sewers, and some with no experience at all. The group initially met twice a month, but added a third day as they advanced in skill and grew in friendship. “This was my first time making a quilt,” says Friedman. “I like to sew, I thought it sounded like fun and what we’re doing is a mitzvah. Also, we stick to the saying—what happens in quilt group stays in quilt group.” The group embraced a project proposed by Marsha Moody—make eight quilts—not to use, or sell—but to give to Jewish Family Service of Tidewater, fulfilling the mitzvah of caring for the needy. JFS counselors, in turn, would give the quilts to Jewish clients who could benefit from these specially-made gifts. Moody had donated four quilts the year before, discovered the profoundly moving reactions from recipients, and was committed to expanding the program. It wasn’t hard, she said, to get the group to participate. The women chose

Members of the Ohef Sholom Temple Tzedakah Quilt Group: Paula Russel, Celia Friedman, Marsha Moody, and Laura Gilbert.

26 | Jewish News | Hanukkah | December 5, 2016 | jewishnewsva.org

a traditional heartstring pattern to follow. Working with as much donated fabric as they could gather, the ladies began weaving stories into their patterns as they cut strips of cloth, sewed them together into blocks, then stitched the blocks together, and ended with the addition of a soft, fleece backing. Each woman created one quilt from the first stitch to last, spending between 75-80 hours in the process, which had been the initial goal. But the group chose not to stop once their individual quilts were finished and continued sewing, working together to complete four more. Jody Laibstain, volunteer and transportation coordinator for JFS, worked as a liaison with the group. She marveled at the bright and warm creations arrayed on the gallery wall. “These quilts will go to good use and, unlike some of the other gifts we gratefully receive, these will stay in the Jewish community,” Laibstain says. “There are many people in the Jewish community who need things—you may never meet one of these people, but they are here—and when will these people get anything that was made with love, like

this, just for them?” “These are truly pieces of art,” says Laibstain. “They are heirlooms—something someone will keep forever—to keep warm and to treasure.” When the quilts are taken down, Laibstain will deliver them to JFS caseworkers who already have recipients in mind. Each quilt comes with a special “gift tag;” a small patch is attached to the quilt’s back, showing the year the quilt was sewn, and these special words: “Made by our hands for you. Tzedakah Quilt Group.” The quilters have already begun working on next year’s gifts, and are accepting donations of material, working equipment and contributions for the purchase of fleece. For more information about the quilting group, contact Ohef Sholom Temple, 757-625-4295, or visit www.ohefsholom. org. To find out more about Jewish Family Service of Tidewater’s services or volunteer opportunities, contact 757-321-2222, or visit www.jfshamptonroads.org.

The quilt group never considered selling their quilts, but were proud to have them on display at the Leon Family Art Gallery.

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Jewish news hanukkah, dec 5, 2016  

Jewish news hanukkah, dec 5, 2016  

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