Sunday, December 09, 2001

Faith Matters

Jews in new home celebrate

By Richelle Thompson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The congregation of B'Nai Tzedek have eaten their latkes together at other Hanukkah dinners.

        The children have played with dreidels and sung special songs for the celebration, which starts this year at sundown tonight. Adults have drunk sacramental wine and prayed.

        Hanukkah gelt — chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil — have tickled the tongues of adults and kids.

        But the holiday steeped in Jewish tradition will be different this year for the 100 families in the congregation. This year, their annual Hanukkah dinner on Dec. 15 will be celebrated in the comfort of home — for the first time since the congregation was founded 37 years ago.

        They invite you to join them at their new synagogue in Sycamore Township. Call 984-3393 for reservations and tickets.

        The congregation opened the doors in August to the new building, which blends traditional and contemporary architecture.

        Parts of the Torah are painted in Hebrew on wooden tiles on the ceiling. A semicircular wall of stone surrounds the sanctuary.

        The small congregation raised more than $1 million for the land and construction at 6280 Kugler Mill Road.

        The congregation had been renting space from the Jewish Community Center in Roselawn.

        The same is true of the traditions of Hanukkah. The eight-day Festival of Lights commemorates the victory in about 163 B.C. of the Maccabees over the Syrians, who tried to eradicate Judaism.

        After their triumph, the Maccabees found in a Jerusalem temple oil to last a day. Miraculously, the oil lamp burned for eight days, which Jews remember by lighting a candle each night of the Hanukkah celebration.

        Children often receive gifts during the holiday — but it is not a Christmas clone for Jews. In fact, Hanukkah is a minor Jewish holiday pushed into the spotlight because of its nearness to the Christian celebration of Christ's birth.

        Here's a glimpse of other holiday activities

        • Catch a live Nativity tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Tylersville Road Christian Church, 6771 Tylersville Road. Information 754-0777.

        • Bring a canned good for local food banks to the Comboni Missionaries' 54th annual Nativity display, 8108 Beechmont Ave., 6 to 9 p.m. It starts today and runs through Dec. 30 (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Information: 474-4997.

        • Food donations will be accepted at the performance of Handel's Messiah at Greenhills Community Church, 21 Cromwell Road, this evening at 7 p.m. Information: 825-8400.

        • St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 10345 Montgomery Road in Montgomery, will perform the traditional “Lessons and Carols” at 6 p.m. this evening. Information: 984-8401.

        Send religion news to or call 755-4144, 755-4150 (fax).


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