Celebrating Chanucah the alternative way
CHANUCAH IS NOT all about doughnuts and dreidls. There are a number of alternative Chanucah celebrations on offer this year, which offer a new twist on the candle-lighting and latke tradition. Big Brother’s Ziggy Lichman will be compèring LightMyFire, amusicevent in Soho, London, hosted by Jeneration, backed by the Reform Movement.
“This is a great opportunity for me to connect with other young Jews, especially at this party time of year,” he says. Joining him will be platinum-selling singer-songwriter Lucie Silvas and rock band Rocket.
“We decided we wanted to do something in the Christmas party season specifically for Chanucah right in the centre of the capital,” says organiser Jim Fletcher. “We wanted to involve as many of the hot, young Jewish talent that’s out there as we could.”
The event takes place on Sunday, De- cember 9 at the Soho Revue Bar, Brewer Street, London W1. Tickets are £12 in advance and £15 at the door. Call 020 8349 5684.
8 Nights is a one-off evening of live music, video art, dance and DJs at the Cargo Club in London’s East End.
The event will centre on the ritual of candle-lighting, with each of the performers representing a candle. For what must be the first time ever, an audience will be able to witness a nine-branch human candlestick play a mix of jazz, funk, klezmer and breakbeat music.
Juliet Simmons, creative director of the Jewish Community Centre, which is backing the event, says: “8 Nights is an original and 21st-century twist on the traditional Jewish festival of lights.”
MaxReinhardt,amusician,composer and DJ who will be performing at the event, says: “I’m very much part of the idea of reinterpreting and opening out rituals to make them more inclusive to both Jewish and non-Jewish people.”
He added that the issues of Chanucah had particular significance to the contemporary world. “It’s a very relevant story for today because it’s about issues such as oil and freedom fighters. So it has a resonance in terms of global and Middle Eastern politics.
“The core of the event will be the candles, so immediately we home in on the ritual. We would like to create something entertaining but which also opens out the rituals and makes us think about where we are.”
The evening will also include a lo-fi set from Oi Va Voi. 8 Nights is produced by Yad Arts, whose founder and creative director is the JC’s arts editor-at-large, Josephine Burton. The event will be held at Cargo, Riverton Street, London EC2A. Entrance £8 in advance or £10 on the door. Call 020 7431 9866.
A JCC evening exploring the contemporary issues raised by Chanucah takes place on Tuesday December 11, the eighth and last night of the festival.
Jewdas, a group of self-proclaimed “radical voices for the alternative diaspora”, is holding its own alternative event. Details are sketchy — the group failed to return the JC’s calls (radical!) — but according to its website: “The combined forces of Opus Dei, Scientology, Islamic Jihad and the Kabbalah Centre are plotting a dark and twisted evening of black magic, spirit summoning and goats.” It adds that Jeffrey Cohen — the code name which many Jewdas members use — had been chosento“leadtheextraordinaryevent” which will take place on December 8. The website adds: “We leave the last word to a slightly worried Jeffrey who would like to warn all those planning to attend his event that they will not leave in quite the same state that they entered.”
The mysterious proceeding take place from 9pm
t h e Boys’ Club, Dalston Lane, Hackney, London E8. Tickets on the door.
For seasonal laughs, head to the Adelaide Pub in NW3 to watch Chasidic comic Yisrael Campbell. The Americanborn Campbell — who was originally named Christopher —has got to have a sense of humour after converting to Judaism three times (Reform, Conservative then Orthodox). His off-Broadway show is called You Can Never Be Too Jewish. The comedy night, hosted by the Zionist Federation, is at The Adelaide pub, Adelaide Road, London NW3 on December 9 at 7pm and 9pm. Tickets £15 (£10 students) from the ZF on 020 8343 9756.
For those who need their fix of high culture to help celebrate the festival of lights, the London Jewish Cultural Centre is hosting a Chanucah celebration for violin and cello with Gemma Rosefield and Yvonne Behar, who play Jewish classical music. The programme includes Bruch’s Kol Nidre, Judeo Spanish songs, music by Bloch and traditional festival melodies. The concert is at Ivy House, North End Road, London NW11 on December 5 at 1.30pm. Tickets are £10 on 020 8457 5000.