Latkepalooza: A festive evening of music, crafts, programs, and food

by | Jan 22, 2018 | Other News

On the second night of Hanukkah, December 13, more than 150 children and adults gathered at the Sandler Family Campus to celebrate the Festival of Lights. The 5th annual Latkepalooza, co-sponsored by the Simon Family Jewish Community Center and PJ Library, included live entertainment by Latin Grammy award winner Mr. G. His musical performance—which included catchy tunes, bilingual lyrics, and interactive participation—had both children and parents dancing and singing along with him during the entire show. Crafts, Hanukkah treats such as latkes and sufganiyot, and Sababa Beach Camps added to the evening.

Sababa helped celebrate Hanukkah in its new home of Virginia Beach. “It was wonderful to meet kids who will be participating in our summer camp and to introduce ourselves to parents who will help our community grow!” says Lynn Lancaster one of Sababa’s directors. The Sababa Hanukkah program with the fourth–12th graders was about the most basic element of the festival, lighting another candle. Participants sat in a circle, each with an unlit candle in their hand. Lancaster lit her candle, then lit the person to her right’s candle. The ritual continued until each person’s was lit. Danny Mishkin, the other director of Sababa, asked, “What do we learn from this ritual if we really pay attention as to why we do this?”

One child said that it took a long time to light another’s candle, so he realized if you want to help another person you need to be patient. Another participant said that the more she looked at the candle, the more beautiful it got. She thinks that is true of people, too—the more you get to know, the more you see their light. This simple exercise helped all of the children find meaningful lessons in one of the most basic rituals of Jewish tradition… lighting candles.

To learn more about Sababa Beach Camps, visit The camp is hosting three sessions this summer in Virginia Beach. Each session is two weeks long. Rising fifth–12th graders will learn to surf, sail, scuba, or take the perfect picture in their chosen specialty, while also gaining a new perspective on how Judaism can help teach some of the most important lessons in life.