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Local temples celebrate Hanukkah early

Staff photo / Bob Coupland Children from Maimonides Schools for Jewish Studies and the Akiva Academy in Youngstown sing Hanukkah songs at the community pre-Hanukkah celebration Sunday at Congregation Rodef Sholom in Youngstown.

YOUNGSTOWN — Three local temple congregations get together Sunday to celebrate the third annual “Not Yet Hanukkah, Humankind Celebration.”

Rabbi Frank Muller of host Congregation Rodef Sholom said that while Hannukkah begins Dec. 22, many people from Temple El Emeth in Liberty, Congregation Ohev Tzedek in Boardman and his Congregation Rodef Sholom in Youngstown will be out of town for winter break. They began holding combined pre-Humankind community celebrations a week ahead.

“With so many people gone, you can’t really have a viable celebration. If Humankind is Dec. 18 or before that, we hold the celebration then,” Muller said.

Tirtza Kohan, CJE / Judaic / Hebrew studies coordinator, said the Akiva Academy and other local schools will be done by Dec. 19, and many families already are leaving on holiday trips.

The event Sunday included musical entertainment with Hanukkah songs from local school children from Maimonides Schools for Jewish Studies (MSJS), magic show, and dinner.

“The younger children are here to sing five Hannukkah songs and the ninth- and 10th-graders have a skit about Humankind. The Generation to Generation band with teens and adults also performs,” she said.

“We always try to celebrate Humankind a couple days earlier when there are more people. It is winter vacation time,” said Sally Blau, co-chair of the event with the Congregation Rodef Sholom Sisterhood.

Blau said she and co-event chair Kandy Rawl coordinated with other Sisterhood members preparing the many foods for the event including latkes, a potato pancake which filled two large trays on the food table.

Aleksander Walton of Howland said he and students Josh Greenbaum, Sofia Farhan and Racquel Allison, all at MSJS, performed several Humankind songs with Arthur Greenbaum and Rabbi Joseph Schonberger of Temple El Emeth. He said he was able to transcribe three Humankind songs to traditional lyrics for the performance.

Muller performed magic acts and then introduced magician / illusionist David Anthony, who entertained children and adults to conclude the evening.

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