A Progressive Jewish Congregation in Portland, Oregon
Shir Tikvah Office: 503-473-8227


The Festival of Lights

SAVE THE DATE: Sunday, December 17. RSVPs will be required.

This event is free for members; non-member attendees are $9 each or $18 per family.

MEMBERS: Please submit your RSVP here.

GUESTS: You may register and submit your payment here.

Share the Gift of Light

Sunday, December 17th
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Candlelighting around 6:00
Live Music Happy Hour around 6:30 pm

Our doors will be open for the whole evening for folks to come and go as they please.

We’ll have light latke appetizers for everyone all evening. MEMBERS: Please bring a dairy/vegetarian nosh to share, as well as your choice of beverage.

Upstairs – The Ultimate Dreidel Smackdown makes a return, with other games and activities to chat over.

Downstairs – We’ll be baking Alef Bet cookies, spinning the dreidel and scoring some gelt.

Child care (and a movie) will be provided downstairs around 6:30 as we transition to a more adult atmosphere upstairs.


A Note from the Rabbi

Hag orot sameakh – happy Festival of Lights! There are some who assume that Hannukah is “the Jewish Christmas”. But it is not.

True, both Christmas and Hannukah share common pre-Christian and pre-Jewish roots which respond to the darkness of the shortest days of the year by celebrating light. But our interpretation of those lights carries its own distinct narrative, in the story of a small guerilla band of Jewish fighters (whom we know as the Maccabees) fighting for their right to be religiously different from the dominant society – Greek Hellenism – which threatened to homogenize us Jews out of existence.

The name Hannukah, “dedication”, refers to the high point of the ancient story: the Maccabees liberate the Temple from Greek occupation, cleanse it of Greek ritual and Greek gods, and rededicate it to its Jewish purpose.

The real story of Hannukah, you see, is miles away from dreidles, gelt, gifts, latkes and the miracle of the oil. We have a chance to remind ourselves of the primary meaning of the holiday – that of dedication to our tradition – when we consider that the Hebrew word for education, hinnukh, shares the same root meaning as hannukah, dedication. That is to say that for Jewish culture, to educate our children is to dedicate them to the knowledge and values that we ourselves have worked to preserve and perpetuate through our own lives.

Every year during our congregational Hanukkah celebration, we celebrate Hannukat haYeladim, the Dedication of the Children. Each year, every student (new to our Nashira Education Project, between the grades of kindergarten and fifth grade will receive a special blessing and a miniature Torah scroll in a special ceremony that will take place at Hannukah, in the moments between our celebration of Havdalah and the lighting of the Hannukah menorah lights. (Students engaged in Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation experience their own sense of dedication to Jewish learning through their Bat/Bar Mitzvah ceremony.)

In the spirit of the holiday, we illuminate a deeper level of meaning to one of the most popular holidays of the Jewish year, one which reaches back through history and down to the very essence of what it means to be Jewish.

We look forward to celebrating with our entire congregational family as we officially dedicate our students to the lifetime of fascinating and meaningful learning that we benefit from ourselves, and that we hope will also be theirs.



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