Saturday, December 08, 2001

Congregation home for Hanukkah

By Richelle Thompson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The congregation of B'Nai Tzedek have eaten their latkes together at other Hanukkah dinners.

        The children have played with dreidels and sung spe- cial songs for the celebration, which starts this year at sundown Sunday. Adults have drunk sacramental wine and prayed.

        Hanukkah gelt — chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil — have tickled the tongues of adults and kids alike.

        But the holiday steeped in Jewish tradition will be dif ferent this year for the 100 families in the congregation. This year, their annual Hanukkah dinner on Dec. 15 will be celebrated in the comfort of home — for the first time since the congregation was founded 37 years ago.

        They invite you to join them at their new synagogue in Sycamore Township. Call today at 984-3393 for reservations and tickets.

        The congregation opened the doors in August to the new building, which blends traditional and contemporary architecture. Parts of the Torah are painted in Hebrew on wooden tiles on the ceiling. A semicircular wall of stone surrounds the sanctuary.

        The small congregation raised more than $1 million for the land and construction at 6280 Kugler Mill Road.

        The congregation had been renting space from the Jewish Community Center in Roselawn.

        “It's the difference between having a party in your own home or going out to a restaurant,” says member Rosalind Juran. “It's a different feeling. More comfortable. This is our home, and we're going to pass it down to our children and grandchildren.”

        The same is true of the traditions of Hanukkah. The eight-day Festival of Lights commemorates the victory in about 163 B.C. of the Maccabees over the Syrians, who tried to eradicate Judaism.

        After their triumph, the Maccabees found in a Jerusalem temple oil to last a day. Miraculously, the oil lamp burned for eight days, which Jews remember by lighting a candle each night of the Hanukkah celebration.

        Children often receive gifts during the holiday — but it is not a Christmas clone for Jews. In fact, Hanukkah is a minor Jewish holiday pushed into the spotlight because of its nearness to the Christian celebration of Christ's birth.

        Another nod to the miracle in the temple is the popularity of potato pancakes (latkes) or jelly donuts fried in oil. They're good with applesauce or sour cream, says Ms. Juran, 70, of Sharonville.

        But she likes hers best plain.

        Here's a glimpse of other holiday activities:

        • Catch a live nativity this weekend from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Tylersville Road Christian Church, 6771 Tylersville Road. Information: 513-754-0777.

        • Dayspring Church of God, 1060 Smiley Ave., presents a free musical dra ma, “Bringing Christmas Home,” tonight at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m. Information: 513-825-2545.

        • Food donations also will be accepted at the performance of Handel's Messiah at Greenhills Community Church, 21 Cromwell Road, Sunday at 7 p.m. Information: 513-825-8400.

        • St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 10345 Montgomery Road in Montgomery, will perform the traditional “Lessons and Carols” Sunday at 6 p.m. Information: 513-984-8401.

        Send religion news to or call 755-4144, 755-4150 (fax).


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