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Or Ami in the News: Rededication at Chanukah Time

Los Angeles Daily News (12/4/07) focuses on Or Ami’s Chanukah celebrations. Quoting Rabbi Paul Kipnes and congregant Judy Soffer, we read:

“I think most families don’t re-tell the story,” said Rabbi Paul Kipnes from Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas. “They jump quickly to the presents when they could be discussing religious freedom. “If a holiday is all about giving gifts, that’s nice, but it’s not meaningful because it becomes only about you and me. Judaism is about more. It’s raising up everybody – lighting up the world to be a brighter and better place.” Members of Congregation Or Ami – Hebrew for “Light of My People” – will receive a Hanukkah package with a sufganiyot, a traditional Israeli doughnut, along with a booklet that emphasizes telling the story and suggestions for other Hanukkah activities. Re-dedication to family, community and healing the earth is what Kipnes hopes his congregation will accept. “Reclaim the holiness of Hanukkah,” Kipnes said. “What did you do last year? Did you tell the story? Sing Hanukkah songs? Did you think about the freedom we have here? Did you think about getting rid of the darkness in your part of the world?” Judy Soffer, a member of Congregation Or Ami, planned her family’s Hanukkah observance so that next year she can say “yes” to all of the above. “When I was growing up, I think that Hanukkah was always a holiday to light candles and get presents. I didn’t really understand the why behind it,” she said. “This year my family will make each night special. One day we will go over the story. Another night we will talk about what charity we will give to,” Soffer said. “Hanukkah is a time that I feel grateful that I live in this country where I can practice my Judaism while being an American.” With the family’s electric menorah proclaiming their celebration of Hanukkah, Soffer will make potato latkes with extended family members one night and have a party with dreidel games. She also plans to buy a CD of Hanukkah songs.

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