Children ran around the room with icing on their faces as Hanukkah music blared.
They were gathering to enjoy the first night of the Jewish holiday.
The children’s event was held on Sunday at 2:30 pm at the Daniel Boone Regional Library. It was hosted by Chabad, an MU run by Rabbi Abraham Lapine and Chany Lapine.
The event was the third of its kind and the first since the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Abraham Lapine, the purpose was to allow the Jewish community in Colombia to celebrate the holiday while providing food and fun for children.
Activities for the family included painting wooden dreidels and coloring paintings of menorahs. A table was also set up for the attendees to fill with ornate dreidels and menorahs.
The other was filled with chocolate coins called gent and jelly-filled donuts called sufganiyot, commonly eaten during the holidays.
Hanukkah begins on Sunday night and continues through the night of December 26th. This holiday commemorates the victory of the Maccabees, a group of Jewish fighters, in the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century BC.
According to legend, those involved witnessed the menorah candles burning continuously for eight nights.
Attendees of this event recognized the year of the gathering (also known as Hakhel), which is held every seven years. It began as an ancient commandment for all Israelites to come together and hear the King of Israel read the Torah. The commandments have since been reinstated, and hakel gatherings are frequent during and around Hanukkah.
Abraham Lapine said Hakel should be a time for Jewish believers to reach out to those in communities they may not be celebrating.
Sarah Ross, who attended a rally with her 7-year-old daughter, Millie, recently moved to Columbia from Chicago. She said she feels welcome in Lapines, even though the Jewish community in Colombia is much smaller than in Chicago.
While Millie Ross was busy coloring at a table full of pals, her mother emphasized the familial side of the holiday.
“We light the menorah for the whole family, so just seeing the amount of light the candles give off is always really special,” she said.