Chanukah Lights Up LifeTown

Chanukah was a particularly busy and exciting one this year at Friendship Circle. On Sunday, Dec. 2, just hours before Chanukah started the first program was held at LifeTown. This was made possible by the Certificate of Occupancy that was received that weekend. It was an incredible Chanukah gift for the entire community!

When the doors of LifeTown were opened for the 1st time the kids ran out of their cars smiling and laughing, their parents chased after them with tears of joy. The energy, the excitement was just beyond anything that we could have imagined!

With the center now open, FC hosted its inaugural Chanukah celebration at LifeTown on December 5. More than 200 children, parents, grandparents and community members came out for the celebration. There was free play in the indoor playground and gym, olive press workshops and dinner. A menorah-lighting celebration rounded out the event.

On the second night of Chanukah, Dec. 3, Friendship Circle families traveled to the Prudential Center in Newark for the annual Jewish Heritage Night. In addition to rooting for the N.J. Devils, everyone gathered for a communal menorah lighting. This year’s menorah was created at LifeTown and using Devils player’s hockey sticks and pucks! The menorah was lit was by Devils owner Josh Harris and Friendship Circle executive director Rabbi Zalman Grossbaum.

A group of students from the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School participated in the school’s annual Yom Chesed, charity day, by volunteering at LifeTown. Some 25 teens in grades 10-12 toured the building and helped pack Shabbat Kit boxes. The boxes are delivered weekly to area hospitals and distributed to people who are spending the Jewish day of rest in the hospital.

Community menorah lightings were held this year at the Livingston Mall and the Livingston Town Center. Local families, shoppers and passers-by got to enjoy the beautiful lighting ceremony complete with singing, Chanukah gelt in the form of chocolate coins and fresh sufganiyot (donuts), a traditional Chanukah treat.

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