For many people, it is hard to imagine celebrating Hanukkah for eight nights. Our family gathers around the menorah for all eight nights, and we sing songs and play games until the candles burn down. The emphasis is on spending times together and enjoying the Hanukkah food, decor, music and candle lighting. For the Jewish Pavilion, Hanukkah lasts much longer… 18 days and nights.
Our four Program Directors plan ten parties each, at different ends of town, and dozens of volunteers participate in the festivities. Musicians like Carol Stein, Nancy Waldman, Paul Stenzler and Penny D’Agostino perform at multiple nursing homes and residents of all faiths have the opportunity to celebrate Hanukkah with the Pavilion. Yesterday, I attended a Hanukkah party at Westminster Towers along with other volunteers, the Westminster staff, residents and their family members. Ella Colley, age 9 delivered a speech about the history of Hanukkah. She and her brother Ben age 6, decorated Hanukkah cookies for all. The most incredible aspect of the party for me was the number of times I heard the words “I love you.” Flory Kahn and her volunteers continuously told one another how much they are loved, while the residents and volunteers did the same. If you are looking for love during the holiday season, you can certainly find it on a daily basis at the Jewish Pavilion.