Hanukkah Celebrations at the CJA

Hanukkah at the CJA was a unique blend of celebration, tradition and excitement. Throughout the eight days students took part in various activities that not only honoured our Jewish holiday but also captured the genuine enthusiasm of our young learners.

The celebrations began in a not so subtle way, as students and staff dressed themselves in their favourite Hanukkah-themed sweaters and pyjamas. The hallways echoed with excitement as everyone proudly displayed their Hanukkah spirit.  

To add to the excitement, this year we introduced a school-wide bingo activity that quickly became one of the highlights of the holiday. The students took the reins in designing their own bingo cards, incorporating Hebrew and Hanukkah-themed words that added a personal touch to the game. As Morah Joyce animatedly called out those words via Zoom, the students’ spirited cheers and joyful shouts of “bingo” reverberated through the school. The excitement reached its peak as winners, beaming with pride, received their cherished prizes – stickers, pencils, and Hanukkah treats.

On the first night of Hanukkah, our CJA choir joined with the greater Jewish community at the Calgary Community Menorah Lighting, hosted by Chabad Alberta. Students from grades 1-6 sang “Oh Hanukkah!” in English, Hebrew and Yiddish. The Community Menorah Lighting plays a significant role during Hanukkah, symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness. This very important event allows the Jewish community to share its traditions with the broader community and promotes the understanding of Jewish culture.

The heart of our celebrations was when our community gathered in anticipation at the Annual Latke Lunch. Our students were at the forefront, infusing the event with their energy. With the grade 2 class showcasing a number of Hanukkah songs and dances, and a surprise performance of “Maoz Tzur” by the CJA Maccabells (the CJA Handbell Club), students brought an authentic and lively touch to this year’s celebrations. Their enthusiasm was contagious.

The youngest members of our school community stole the show in the Hanukkah Preschool Concert, in which their excitement was evident in every note and movement. The genuine joy displayed by these students created a heartwarming experience for families and fellow students alike. The event showcased our cultural richness and emphasized the importance of passing on traditions to the next generation.

Reflecting on the Hanukkah celebrations at our school, it was the spirited excitement of our students that stood out as the defining element. Their genuine enthusiasm added a dynamic dimension to the days we celebrated together. The essence of Hanukkah, as seen through the eyes of our students, is not just a celebration of traditions but a lively reminder of our shared identity.

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