Chanukah is celebrated with music, candles, dreidels and fried food. It’s a great opportunity to share a few Jewish traditions with our friends and neighbors of all faiths.
That’s what the Jewish Community Relations Council has been doing for about five years, and the tradition continues on December 21 – the sixth night of Chanukah – at the Interfaith Chanukah Dinner at the Jewish Community Center.
The dinner has attracted around 150 people in recent years, and it has become the JCRC’s signature annual event.
“We love doing it,” said Matt Goldberg, JCRC director. “It’s so much fun.”
Because of the significance of oil in Chanukah (legend says a single flask of oil burned for eight nights) the type of food served is usually fried. At the dinner, participants can enjoy latkes with sour cream and applesauce and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts).
There will be a candle lighting at 5 p.m., and Cantors David Lipp of Adath Jeshurun and Sharon Hordes of Keneseth Israel will sing Chanukah songs, along with guest musician Gareth Jones.
The JCRC invites people of all faiths in Louisville to participate in the event.
“It’s a very low-key event, and all are welcome,” Goldberg said.
Chanukah celebrates the rededication of the Temple after Judah Maccabee’s victory over the Seleucids, who were trying to force the Jews to worship Greek gods. “It’s a holiday that celebrates religious tolerance,” Goldberg said. “So, it perfectly coordinates with inviting all faiths to the table.
This year, the event will honor Terry Taylor, executive director of Interfaith Paths to Peace, who plans to retire next year, Goldberg said.
The dinner is free, and no RSVP is needed. Attendees are asked to bring one winter item, such as a hat, gloves or a scarf, to be donated to a local charity. Leon Wahba and Jeff Slyn are chairs of the event.
“It’s music, food and schmoozing,” Goldberg said. “Who can’t have fun with that?”