We’ll start with stuff for families.
The Seattle Jewish Chorale is doing it second-night style with a concert at Temple B’nai Torah.
“It’s Hanukkah songs, but not necessarily all the Hanukkah songs that everybody knows,” says Michele Yanow, the chorale’s executive director, of “Light the Candles: A Hanukkah Concert for Everyone.”
Yanow and her army of music lovers have combed the archives of Jewish lore to find songs such as an adaptation of an old Sephardic liturgical tune, which translates to “Let’s Make a Meal.”
They’ll do some of what she calls the “typical beautiful, mournful Yiddish-in-minor-key piece” while interspersing that with sing-a-longs, a bopping, klezmer-style (with clarinet!) ode to the dreidel written by a couple of ‘20s-era Yiddish theater musicians, and plenty of tunes that celebrate the candles.
One song the chorale performed in the spring, “Not in Our Town,” tells the story of the night in the early 1990s that white supremacists threw a rock through the window of a home displaying a menorah in Billings, Mont. Many residents of the city put a picture of a menorah in their own windows to stand in solidarity with the family. The chorale will reprise that touching piece at its Hanukkah concerts, and close “with a beautiful interpretation of the Refuah Shlemah, ‘Heal Us Now,’ by a cantor friend of mine from back east,” Yanow says.
The piece, by Cantor Leon Sher of Temple Shalom in Aberdeen, N.J., was sung at the memorial service for the victims of the January shooting in Tucson that critically injured Jewish Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
The Bellevue concert will also feature Rabbi Jim Mirel’s Shalom Ensemble and, of course, a candle lighting before the concert begins.
Temple B’nai Torah is located at 15727 NE 4th St., Bellevue. The show begins at 7 p.m.
This performance, incidentally, is one of two the Seattle Jewish Chorale will perform during the week. Three days before, at the Westside Unitarian Universalist Church at 7141 California Ave. SW in West Seattle, in conjunction with Congregation Kol HaNeshamah, you can see the chorale with some other special guests.
“We will have some children with us at the West Seattle concert…who will come up and join us for one of the songs,” Yanow says.
Those kids, she added, have “a special surprise of their own.”
Both concerts are intended for anyone and everyone: All ages from kids to seniors, interfaith families, Jews and non-Jews alike. Tickets for both concerts are $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, $5 for children, and the unemployed or underemployed can pay as they are able. Purchase them online at www.brownpapertickets.com.
If you enjoyed the Shalom Ensemble for this concert, you can always head back to Temple B’nai Torah the next day, Dec. 22, to see them again. Starting at 10:30 a.m., the ensemble will perform its mix of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Hanukkah tunes as well as some rollicking klezmer for Jewish Family Service’s Endless Opportunities seniors program. Contact Ellen Hendin at JFS at email@example.com or 206-861-3183 if you need more information.
Then, later that day, if the building doesn’t collapse from all the use, the Shaarei Tikvah program for people of all abilities will have its annual Hanukkah celebration at B’nai Torah. Rabbi Mirel and Cantor David Serkin Poole will lead the party that will of course feature latkes, dreidel spinning and a lot of singing. That celebration runs from 3 to 5 p.m. RSVPs are required. Contact Marjorie Schnyder at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-861-3146 to register.
There’s probably a reason nobody has attempted to build a six-foot menorah out of ice in our region before: We’re not Antarctica. Or Minnesota (though we suspect that somewhere along the line the original Ballardites were fooled until it didn’t stop raining). But as they do every year with one type of six-foot menorah or another, be it candy, Lego or some other creative object that can easily stored in the Farkashes’ basement, Chabad of the Central Cascades will carve this year’s Hanukkah menorah out of a big block of ice. And then they will put candles on it and set it alight.
Following the annual public lighting of their traditional aluminum menorah by Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger and several of the city’s other elected officials on the first night, Dec. 20, the party will move to Blakely Hall on the Issaquah Highlands for the ice sculpture, a party with latkes, doughnuts, kids’ activities and a show by local puppeteer/musical duo The Sababas.
The first candlelighting will take place at Village Green, followed by the party and ice sculpture lighting at Blakely Hall, 2550 NE Park Dr., Issaquah Highlands. To get more information, contact 425-427-1654 or visit www.ChabadIssaquah.com.
For a traditional candle-lighting celebration, the Eastside Torah Center moves its annual giant menorah lighting from Crossroads to Redmond Town Center. At 6:30 p.m. on Wed., Dec. 22 the Torah Center will erect its big hanukkiyah and hand out dreidels and gelt to everyone.
Young adults, there’s a party for you as well! As soon as you knock off work on the 22nd, the Eastside Torah Center will have a Hanukkah celebration and latke-making party around its fireplace. The party starts at 5 p.m. Leave the kids at the day care for an extra hour — they’re not invited to this shindig. RSVPs required at 425-957-7860 or email@example.com. It will be at the Eastside Torah Center, 1837 156th Ave. NE #303 in Bellevue.