Temple Ramat Zion Hanukkah ‘Car-nival’ Gets Turnout of 200 People

December 16, 2020
Photos by Muriel Redoute Blondeau/ Courtesy of Temple Ramat Zion

Around 200 people in 80 cars gathered at Temple Ramat Zion’s parking lot in Northridge, Calif. to celebrate the sixth night of Hanukkah on Dec. 15. The festival of lights “Car-nival” was the first major community gathering the temple has had since March.

Temple Ramat Zion Rabbi Ahud Sela told the Journal in an email they wanted to hold the Car-nival “because even in these dark times, it is important to stay positive and hopeful, and we can do that by celebrating the warmth and joy of Hanukkah.”

The temple made sure to comply with COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and mandates from Los Angeles County. Festivities included a hanukkiah lighting followed by a sing-a-long, a performance by a fire dancer, fresh latkes and Krispy Creme doughnuts delivered to car doors car-hop style and games for kids and families to play. Everyone stayed in their cars and wore masks when windows were rolled down.

Games including “Knock over the Dreidel,” “Get the Latke in the Pan,” “Get the Doughnut on the Ring” and “Light the Candle” (by throwing socks through a hole in a candle poster) were all played from inside the vehicles. The temple also provided games, word searches, mazes and trivia that could be played through an app or on paper.

Attendees were also encouraged to bring socks to the party, a past Ramat Zion tradition, so they could be donated to Pacoima nonprofit MEND (Meet Each Need with Dignity). MEND provides food, clothing and homeless care services to those in need.

“The fact is, at Hanukkah, we are commanded to light the Hanukkah candles but more importantly, we are beholden to be the light ourselves. This car-nival reminds us to think of others not as fortunate as we, which is why we are collecting new pairs of socks for MEND,” Sela said.

While this year has brought sorrow to the local community, Sela says now more than ever it’s important to be the light that shines on others and help keep others safe.

“That begins by being responsible and not spreading the virus, which we do by wearing our masks, washing our hands, and watching our distance,” Sela said. “We support our frontline healthcare workers. We help those who have lost jobs and income because of the recession. And we continue to help those who were already struggling before the pandemic.”

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