December, 2008. Hanukkah Miracles in Migdal JCC
While the major December 2008 activity for kids and parents from Mazel Tov and Beitenu center was preparation for and celebration of Hanukkah holiday, the Center went on holding its regular activities.
A few of them were:
• Birthday Child party for Mazel Tov children. The heroes of the party were 10 kids that had their birthdays in November and December. The party was organized as kings and queens’ show, in which the birthday children wore crones on their heads and were treated as kings and queens. The treatment definitely included a “sweet” element – birthday cakes and other refreshments; at the same time the main emphasis of the celebration was put on two drama pieces. The first performance was produced by Mazel Tov participants in cooperation with Beitenu teenagers. Moreover, Beitenu members served as instructors and were in charge of their younger friends learning their pieces by heart, reciting them with proper intonation, etc. In addition, masks for the performances were also made by Beitenu children. The second performance was a puppet show. It was produced by mothers and fathers of kids and was also a tremendous success.
• Classes with Jewish Service Corps Volunteers Dina and Sol Adelsky. While Mazel Tov and Beitenu Center can really boast of successful involvement of volunteers in their work (which is still a big challenge in the general communities of the FSU countries), currently they are happy to even have two volunteers from overseas. This is a young Jewish couple Dina and Sol Adelsky who came to Odessa community for a year of volunteering work. Besides active help in such organizations as Hesed Shaarey Tzion, Hillel, and others, the young guys very much love what they do with little kids and teenagers at Beitenu and Mazel Tov Center. Dina and Sol’s major type of teaching is English classes for several age groups beginning from 12 months old, twice a week there classes in Hebrew and tradition. In addition to that, they organize celebrations of Jewish holidays for both children and parents. The feedback is mutual – not only do their pupils learn English, Hebrew and Tradition, but the volunteers (who have their Jewish roots from Ukraine) also improve their Russian!
• Practical skills workshops with Beitenu children in December turned out to be not only interesting but also very useful and timely. Throughout the month the boys were indulged in production of their own cartoon to be presented at Hanukkah celebration; the girls especially liked their hairdresser’s studies, at which they acquired the skills of some hairdos and even basic haircuts. In addition to that, all the children made decorations (including beads-work, embroidery and sewing) for Hanukkah performances at Migdal JCC and local Children’s Rehabilitation Center.
Hanukkah Miracles in Migdal JCC
Hanukkah-2008 marathon in Migdal JCC was just as brilliant and miraculous as ever.
• The very first event, which set a fantastic example for all further Hanukkah activities was the opening of a new exhibition “Jewish Card – New Life” in Jewish Shorashim Museum on December 23rd. Among the images on these cards there are a lot of reproductions of famous art works of 18th and 19th centuries. Besides, there are lots of so-called art improvisations that dwell on the motives of old Jewish cards. The last were set as a goal for the students of Migdal JCC’s “School of Jewish Art”. The exhibition stayed in the premises of the Museum all through January, 2009.
• Next evening, on December 24th, a concert of bard chansons “Till the Candle Shines” took place in Migdal JCC. This is becoming a good tradition for Migdal as it has been the second year in a row that such an event took place, receiving huge response from its visitors. The audience was especially impressed by the songs of Odessa Opera and Ballet theater actress, who was invited to join the event for the first time.
• On Thursday, December 25th, a totally different activity took place in Migdal. It was a children’s party – Hanukkah thriller “In chase of Shamash”. When the participants received their invitations they smiled as the words in capital claimed that “Grown-ups were not allowed” and those were not just words. Children of 7-11 years old felt absolutely great at a real party without their parents being anywhere near them. The whole party was stylized to make it look like a thriller and Migdal’s students were “responsible for the atmosphere”. Thus, the children had a merry policewoman and a Shamash thief, city mayor and rabbi. Besides, the kids themselves got so much into the spirit that started to make up their own contests and participate in them.
• Saturday, December 27th, marked a brand new event in Migdal JCC – Intellectual Casino “Migdal Flash”. Migdal staff had been preparing especially thoroughly for this event and the ones who came to Migdal’s hall that evening could barely recognize it. Days and nights work on its decoration went on and new curtains, covers, statues and other attributes kept appearing in Migdal JCC “ancient” hall. Members of Migdal’s Student Club changed the hall from almost collapsed to almost respectable (at least in appearance).
The result was simply amazing – everyone rushed to play in intellectual games with fervour and in the heat of the moment earned lots of chips with their own wit and brains.
By the end of the evening everyone who had certain amounts of these chips could receive special prizes, connected with Hanukkah. And in the course of “Migdal Flash” casino there was one more presentation – gala performance of variations on “Fiddler on the Roof” by “Pour Le Chance” theater. The vocal ensemble of Migdal JCC brightened the
evening with its terrific voices and great repertoire.
• On Sunday, December 28th, two concerts for Mazel Tov and Beitenu kids and their parents took place in concert hall of the Odessa Rehabilitation Center for Children with Special Needs. More than 80 families participated in these concerts and the theatrical studio of Migdal JCC performed for them.
Besides on Sunday evening everyone gathered for the second round of “Two Stars” contest, which everyone was looking forward to. The participants had been getting ready for it way in advance and with doubled effort as they were willing to perform the best they could to impress the audience and strict judges. The theme for this round was Miracle and all the numbers – drama, vocal and choreographic were on the proper level and went in accordance with the general theme.