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Eight Crazy Nights: Chanukah 2020

Get ready to celebrate the Festival of Lights with eight nights of fun, eight nights of celebration and eight nights of craziness!

From online latke cooking to Zoom bingo nights to Torah studies, we’re adapting this beloved holiday to meet the needs of 2020. It all culminates in a socially distanced parking lot celebration right here at Shaare Emeth.

Step One: Choose Your Chanukah Adventure Bag

To give you everything you need to dive right into Shaare Emeth’s holiday activities, we’re offering Chanukah Adventure Bags. These bundles feature everything you need to celebrate the Festival of Lights, whether you’re following along with our congregational events or celebrating among family.

You can choose either a deluxe bag ($18, includes a chanukiah, decorative banner, two dreidels and more) or a free bag that contains all the basics.

Once you’ve signed up for one, we’ll send you instructions about contactless pickup at the temple.

How to participate: Order a bag (and see the full list of contents) here.

Pre-Chanukah Activities

Chanukah, Christmas, The Holidays, Oh My!
Wednesday, December 2
12:30 OR 7:30 p.m.

How do interfaith families celebrate the holidays? Join Rabbi Rachel Bearman and Subie Banaszynski for a Zoom conversation around this hot topic.

How to participate: 

RSVP for the 12:30 p.m. session here.
RSVP for the 7:30 p.m. session here.

Baking Up Some Love
Sunday, December 6, 3 p.m.

Join on Zoom with our member and baker extraordinaire, Eunice Reichman to bake her special recipe of simcha bread. One bread will be for you and the other for our Chanukah Gift Bags for our seniors. Once you register, you will receive the list of ingredients.

How to participate: Register here.

Chanukah Bags for Our Seniors
Volunteers and donations requested through December 6
Delivery December 7-9

Donate money to cover supplies or assemble and deliver bags to our congregational seniors who are either homebound or living in retirement homes. Let’s show them how much we are thinking of them during this time.

How to participate: Register here to donate money or volunteer to assemble and deliver bags.

Eight Crazy Nights!

Live-streamed candle lighting
6 p.m. December 10, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16

Join us on Zoom on select nights for a live candle lighting of the chanukiah! We’ll broadcast this beautiful tradition from different spots each night.

How to watch: Bookmark our congregational stream here and join at 6 p.m. each night!


Friday, December 11

6 p.m.: Shabbat Chanukah Service

Join us for a fun, festive and family-friendly service that will welcome in the Chanukah season with music and joy. This service will include lighting of the chanukiah candles for the second night.

How to watch: Stream the service live at sestl.org/livestream or our Facebook page.


Saturday, December 12

9:30-10:30 a.m.: Chanukah Torah Study

Shaare Emeth is proud to partner with the St. Louis Rabbinical and Cantorial Association to offer the community a special opportunity to study Torah together.

Rabbi Rachel Bearman will lead an exploration of Judah and Judith, two leaders that the Jewish tradition associates with the holiday of Chanukah. We’ll begin by investigating what the tradition has to say about both of these figures and then will move on to more contemporary interpretations of their identities and legacies.

How to participate: Register at bit.ly/JudahandJudith.

7 p.m.: Light Up the Night
$5 minimum donation per household

On the third night of Chanukah, give the gift of light to a family in need and give yourself the gift of an evening filled with music, poetry, story and song.

With Shaare Emeth’s clergy, Lucy Greenbaum and the Prayer Lab musicians, this Light Up the Night concert will brighten your winter nights and add a measure of warmth and joy to your holiday celebrations this year.

Registration is required and a $5 minimum donation per family is suggested. This money will go to Ameren’s Gift of Energy program to help community members pay their electric bills this winter.

Co-sponsored by the Jewish Mindfulness Center of St. Louis

How to participate: Register and make a donation here. We’ll send you a link to the service after you register!

Sunday, December 13

4 p.m.: Jew Apron – join our digital latke cook-off!

This year we are bringing the latkes to YOU! This Chanukah, community members will have an opportunity to purchase one easy, convenient kit of ingredients for a meal of Chanukah fun to make your own latkes. Our “Jew Apron” meal kits will be available on a limited basis to members of Shaare Emeth. These tasty, crispy, homemade treats are perfect for a stay-at-home celebration of the Festival of Lights.

On December 13, our community members will gather together to cook online and get those latkes just the right shade of golden brown!

How to participate: Purchase a kit here.

Monday, December 14

5 p.m.: Chanukah Bingo with Camp Emeth

All are welcome to join us for tons of fun playing Chanukah Bingo, sponsored by Camp Emeth. The night will feature Camp Emeth Staff callers, fun games and more! Bingo cards will be in every Shaare Emeth Chanukah Adventure Bag, and also available for you to print at home.

How to participate: Register here.

Tuesday, December 15

5:30 p.m.: Mi Shebeirach Moments Chanukah Healing Service

Join Rabbi Goldstein and Lucy Greenbaum for a healing service filled with music, poetry and prayers illuminated by the themes of Chanukah. Whether you are praying for yourself, a loved one, those affected by the coronavirus or the healing of our fractured world, all are welcome at this service of connection and hope. The service will conclude at 6 p.m. with the lighting of the Chanukah lights for the sixth night of Chanukah.

Presented by the Jewish Mindfulness Center of St. Louis

How to watch: Bookmark our stream here and join us at 5:30 p.m. December 15 to take part.

Thursday, December 17

6–7:30 p.m.: The Eighth Crazy Night!

Celebrate the last night of Chanukah on the parking lot at Congregation Shaare Emeth! We’re offering socially distanced fun for every age.

  • Help light up our Congregational chanukiah
  • Participate in Drive-by Dreidel game with prizes, sponsored by Shaare Emeth’s Interfaith Outreach
  • Help warm up the unhoused with donations for Winter Outreach donations
  • Photo opportunities with surprise guests!

How to participate: RSVP here and we’ll be sure to reserve your sufganiyot (donuts) to take with you.

Don’t forget to wear a mask if you are 3 years of age and over!

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