Light It Up! Recap

facebook_lightitupThis past Thursday evening, December 14, over 200 members of the CBS community gathered in Koret Hall for Light It Up! : A Hanukkah Celebration. Together, we marked the third night of Hanukkah with a rollicking party. Our Beth Sholom margaritas and burrito bar were hits with the adults, and the many activity stations – face painting, cookie decorating, multiple craft tables, and more – were busy all night!

Light It Up's centerpiece, as always, was our communal candle lighting. Many families and individuals brought their favorite hanukkiot (Hanukkah menorahs) from home and, led by Rabbi Glazer and Jewish songster Jonathan Bayer, recited the Hanukkah blessings as we brightened the evening.

Following the candle lighting, our Troupe de Beth Sholom players performed a Hanukkah play, Miss Menorah & The Maccabees. With a beautiful set (created by Pam Seaman, one of our amazing CBS Family Preschool teachers), a terrific cast of Beth Sholom staff and parents from the community, and a show-stopping, electric sweater, Miss Menorah was a smash. All the children in attendance were riveted, and the parents chuckled and guffawed. After the play, Adam Lowy, a father in our CBS Family Preschool community, hopped on stage with Jonathan Bayer for an energetic, old school rap fest. When Adam encouraged the kids to show him how well they could jump, Light It Up! became a floor-shaking rager.

Todah rabbah (a hearty thank you) to: Rabbi Glazer and Jonathan Bayer for emceeing the evening; all of the Troupe de Beth Sholom players (Katherine Barboni, Ben Chinn, Rabbi Glazer, Kim Hegg, Beth Jones, Dale Kleisley, Vered Levinson, and Dan Rubinsky); Adam Lowy for raising the roof; Jason Jungreis, Adi Barak Marino, Rajeev Chopra, and Veronica Holman for volunteering to bartend; Ashley Polselli, Joan Gelfand, Liza Monge, and Ariel Bronstein for staffing the food tables; Anne Mccomas, Pam Seaman, and Janet Carignani for helping at the dreidel making and the cookie decorating tables; preschool teacher Pam Seaman for creating the impressive Miss Menorah set; Natalia Baba and Veda Gujiral who did all the face painting; and all of the CBS staff and leadership for creating such an amazing party! On the staff front, special thanks is due Executive Chef Jane Sykes for preparing so much delicious food, Operations & Event Manager Kim Hegg for dramatically transforming Koret Hall into a magical, purple-and-blue-bathed space, and CBS Family Preschool Director and Assistant Director Katherine Barboni and Dale Kleisley for doing so much of the heavy-lifting and orchestrating the two main attractions, the play and musical performance. Thank you all so much!

Below, we've posted a selection of photos taken during the celebration. If you missed it, we hope you'll join us next year.

Announcing The Gathering Essay Competition

TheGathering1CBS is delighted to announce an exciting cultural and learning opportunity for families in our community!

Playwright Arje Shaw is generously sponsoring an essay writing competition for CBS teenagers (at or around b'nai mitzvah age). Shaw invites teens who are interested in participating to attend his critically-acclaimed play, The Gathering, during its upcoming run at The Live Oak Theatre in Berkeley (July 21 - August 20, 2016).

After watching the play, participants should write an essay (1,000 - 1,500 words) about how practicing remembrance and tolerance can improve the future for all people. This essay should be composed in conversation/collaboration with parents and other family members.

TheGathering2Although The Gathering deals with the Shoah, the teenage essayists will present their compositions to the congregation during Sukkot 5777 (October 17-18, 2016). Why Sukkot instead of, say, Yom HaShoah? Shaw hopes the process of writing the essay will prompt the participating teens to thoughtfully consider their heritage and how best to honor it (l'dor v'dor, from generation to generation), and the mystical tradition of inviting ushpizin, ancestral "guests," into the sukkah to share space with us is pertinent.

Following the public presentation of the essays, Rabbi Glazer will announce which of the entries he and a committee of CBS member judges deems most resonant. Shaw will make a $1,000 donation to CBS in the author's name.

Shaw notes that The Gathering wasn't written just for himself. It is, as he puts it, "an expression of neshamah, a soulful thank you to my parents for all their sacrifices to rebuild their lives in securing a future for their children. We all have had people in our lives who made that happen, and The Gathering is a tribute to them."

We think that Shaw's essay competition will provide some of our CBS teens with their own opportunity to offer such a tribute.

Photo credits: The Gathering production photos by