‘Fes­ti­val of Lights’ cel­e­brates di­ver­sity

GA Voice - - A & E -

The an­nual “Fes­ti­val of Lights” Hanukkah cel­e­bra­tion, held at the LGBT-in­clu­sive Con­gre­ga­tion Bet Haverim on Dec. 14, prom­ises ac­tiv­i­ties to ap­peal to all ages un­der the over­all theme of di­ver­sity.

Hanukkah is an event that can of­ten seem to ap­peal more to chil­dren than adults, ac­cord­ing to CBH Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Amy Robert­son. She and the staff are look­ing to change that.

“In our early years, we didn’t have a lot of chil­dren here, but over time we have had more and more fam­i­lies,” says Robert­son. “We want to make the evening one where ev­ery­one can have a great time.”

The night be­gins with a tra­di­tional latke din­ner at 6 p.m.

“It’s on a Fri­day and we didn’t feel peo­ple could come home and cook, so we are pro­vid­ing the latkes here,” she says.

Side dishes are sug­gested, how­ever, for the potluck event.

A com­mu­nity meno­rah light­ing fol­lows, then ‘Fes­ti­val of Lights’ Dec. 14, 6 p.m. Con­gre­ga­tion Bet Haverim 2676 Clair­mont Road NE, At­lanta, GA 30329 www.con­gre­ga­tion­bethaverim.org/hanukkah/ the chil­dren and adults sep­a­rate for dif­fer­ent pro­gram­ming. The adult ser­vice will be led by CBH Rabbi Joshua Lesser.

Clos­ing the night will be a serv­ing of donuts and a game of Texas Hold ‘em Drei­del. The drei­del – a spin­ning top with He­brew let­ters on all sides – is nor­mally used as a chil­dren’s game, but Robert­son prom­ises a ver­sion for ev­ery­one, not just the kids.

This year’s “Fes­ti­val of Lights” theme is di­ver­sity.

“Di­ver­sity is the ori­gin of Hanukkah,” she says. “There has been a lot of re­li­gious in­tol­er­ance both within and out­side the Jewish com- mu­nity. We are try­ing to fo­cus on the cel­e­bra­tion of di­ver­sity.”

Bet Haverim was founded by gays and les­bians as a place where Jews can be them­selves and bring their en­tire fam­ily. Robert­son is a long­time mem­ber of the Bet Haverim and has been on staff now for five years.

The con­gre­ga­tion is roughly half LGBT mem­bers and half LGBT al­lies, she says. Robert­son ex­pects ap­prox­i­mately 200 at the hol­i­day event.

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