I’ve noticed that the media has coined various clever, inclusive titles for the holiday season such as Christmahanakwanzaka or Knishmas. I’d like to add one of my favorites to the mix, “Chanukalulu.”
While it does not necessarily include other holidays, I think it is a nice way to describe celebrating Chanukah in Honolulu. And I have to say that this year it was a totally a Chanukalulu celebration, especially last weekend. I might even venture to say it was a Chanukapalooza!
We began lighting the candles on the first night, but since it was a school night we kept it pretty mellow. I chose the Menorah my mom gave me, the Menorah she gave my daughter, the Menorah my husband’s mother gave him and the Menorah she gave his daughter.
Our kids get gifts, but we tried to keep it simple this year. The party really started on Friday evening.
The annual Temple Emanu-El and SJS Chanukah potluck dinner and family service brought the congregation and school families together for food, fun and worship. We lit the candles together as a community and celebrated the third night of Chanukkah and Shabbat together. It was nice to connect in mutual celebration.
On Saturday we went to the Rock of Ages concert at the shul featuring a local band Flux Capacitor.
It was a fundraiser for the School of Jewish Studies and a night out for the family. How often does one get to go to a rock concert at the Synagogue.? The kids danced, the grown ups danced, the band danced.
The final activity in what our Temple President has referred to as a “Trifecta” was the SJS Macabiah games on Sunday morning. The kids played Jewpardy, dreidle and a host of other games as well as ate latkes in the name of Chanukah celebration.
By Monday morning I had what I like to refer to as a Chanukah hangover. We truly celebrated to our limit. Of course we lit the candles as a family at home until the last night, but our supercharged celebration was concentrated over the weekend.
What I like about it is that it did not focus on presents and getting stuff. Instead, it brought together our family and our community in mutual celebration. We enjoyed the company of friends new and old and shared the rituals and traditions of our faith that bond us during this holiday season.
Our Rabbi sent us a message the other day and at the end it said, “May the lights of Chanukah continue to burn brightly within us and bring us and the whole world wisdom, inspiration and peace.”
Now that is the true meaning of Chanukalulu.