Normal Medium Large


Home » About the Federation » Our Community »  December 23, 2016
E-News - Dec. 23, 2016

December 23, 2016  |  23 Kislev 5777

From our CEO...
We learn in the Talmud of the debate between the sages Hillel and Shamai on the lighting of the Hanukkah candles.  Tomorrow night many of us will follow Hillel's custom of lighting one candle each night until the menorah is fully lit with eight candles.  Shamai's custom is a little different - he began Hanukkah by lighting all eight candles the first night and each night following taking one candle away.  And if you follow the custom of Havdalah, you light the Hanukkah candle after Havdalah.  With each of these practices we focus on the light - increasing the light in our lives and in others, reflecting on the power of the light, safeguarding our own internal light, sharing traditions with family and friends.
As shown by the teachings of Hillel and Shamai, there can be many different customs, interpretations, and opinions within a community.  Differing thoughts do not diminish one another - the beauty of our tradition is to come together and discuss the differences.  From these discussions, we all grow and become stronger.
As Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Temple, let's take this opportunity to rededicate our lives to learning from one another, to sharing our thoughts and opinions, and to working together to strengthen our community.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Hanukkah,
Alan Potash
Happy Hanukkah Happenings
Hanukkah Menorah Exhibit
To begin the season, the Kripke Jewish Federation Library invited community members to bring in one of their menorahs for display in the library. Many people did so and provided descriptions of the personal significance of their menorah.

Young Jewish Omaha
Nate Shapiro, Director of Development for the JFO, reports that on Saturday, December 17, YJO held a small Hanukkah/Havdalah get-together in the Canteen at the JCC. Over 20 Young Jews shared in the ancient tradition of Havdalah and the not-as-ancient tradition of eating suganyot. Rabbi Ari Dembitzer of Beth Israel led everyone in Havdalah and told a Hanukkah story. Adam Rosen accompanied Rabbi Dembitzer on guitar and led a sing-along of Hanukkah classics.

Hanukkah Extravaganza
 If much of the American Hanukkah celebration is for kids, then the Jewish Federation of Omaha's Hanukkah Extravaganza on the evening of December 19th filled the bill for the community's children. Carnival-like games, an inflatable, a pinball machine, and a photo booth were all part of the evening's fun. PJ Library filled the Kripke Jewish Federation Library with a face painter, Hanukkah crafts, dreidels and storytelling. "It was also great to see families browsing our incredible collection of children's books which are available for checkout year-round," said Jennie Gates Beckman, Director of Community Engagement and Education.

Friedel Jewish Academy
Friedel Jewish Academy played an important part of the Hanukkah Extravaganza by conducting their annual fund-raising latke sales event throughout the evening. The following day all of the students participated in their Hanukkah play in the JCC Theater.  In addition to each grade performing songs in Hebrew, the whole school presented a Karen Sokolof Javitch original song, "Who Knows One?" to the delight of the audience.  Their final day before winter vacation was a festive Hanukkah party, with a day full of games, projects and an all-school swim at the "J."

JCC Pennie Z. Davis Child Development Center
The CDC held their own Extravaganza especially geared for the young. Amidst the classroom decorations, games and latke making were a part of the celebration. The two and three year-olds made their own Hanukkah cards and have been distributing them throughout the federation. Loving acts of kindness begin at a young age.

Yachad held a Hanukkah Party on December 18 at Temple Israel. Yachad members shared in a gift exchange and enjoyed dinner. Thank you to the Caring Committee for making the event special.
Star Deli
Hanukkah Deli - Friday, Dec. 30
11:30 am - 1:00 pm

- The Special -
Latke Reuben with Fries

Thank you to the children who participated in the Jewish Federation of Omaha Kids Campaign. We raised $477.68!

There is still time to participate in the Kids Campaign. Stop by the Jewish Federation of Omaha today!
BBYO host Mid-American Region 2016 Winter Regional Convention
BBYO welcomes teens from St. Louis, Kansas City, Wichita, Minnesota, and Omaha for the Mid-America Region's 2016 Winter Regional Convention held in Omaha December 27-30.  Omaha teen Coordinators Max Kohll and Leo Norton have led the Steering Committee through planning and preparing for the nearly 100 attendees.  Teens will experience leadership training, a community service project, athletics, Judaic services, Judaic song sessions, Israeli shlichim visitors, BBYO chapter competitions, and more!  For more information contact Rachel Martin, BBYO Director
Last Minute Hanukkah Gift!
Consider adding funds to your child's B'nai Tzedek/Young Jewish Giving account to give the gift of giving. Or open an account for your child, ages 12-22. Young Jewish Giving (YJG) empowers teens and college-aged students to make the world a better place by donating money to worthy causes engaged in meaningful work.

Contact Danielle Gordman at 402.343.6464 or for more information.
Eye on Israel Returns
On December 19 Rabbi Shlomo Abramovich, Visiting Scholar at Beth Israel Synagogue, conducted the first in a series of Eye on Israel sessions. His first topic was the way in which different Israeli news sources have been reporting on the fires throughout the country. He also welcomed Ari Kohen, Associate Professor of Political Science at UNL and via Skype, Uri Bank - a Legislative and Foreign Affairs advisor to Knesset member, Yehudah Glick. Their featured topic was the possible ways in which the election of Donald Trump might affect Israel. Future Eye on Israel sessions at 12:00 pm in the Kripke Library will be Jan 9, Feb 13, Mar 6, Apr 3, and May 8th. The community is welcome.
Make an impact on the
Jewish community

Click here to learn more.
Upcoming Mission Trips in 2017
One of the goals of the Jewish Federation of Omaha is to provide our community with unique ways to experience Jewish life around the globe. In 2017 the JFO is offering two amazing mission opportunities that will connect you to your Jewish heritage.

May 8-16, 2017
P2G Jewish Journey to Poland,
Bratislava and Budapest

with optional extensions to Berlin or Israel (May 16-19)
Cost: $2,499  |  Registration due Jan. 6

This is a one-of-a-kind trip for viewing Eastern European and its history through a Jewish lens. Learn more.
For more information contact Zoe Riekes at and/or Jan Goldstein at

November 26- December 6, 2017
Omaha Jewish Women's Mission to Israel
The Jewish Federation of Omaha (JFO) and The Jewish Women's Renaissance Project (JWRP) are jointly sponsoring a trip to Israel for 9 women committed to the work of the JFO. The trip focusses on learning, leading and community. For more information contact Louri Sullivan at 402-334-6485 or
Click here to apply.
Carolyn Dorfman Dance 
The Legacy Project:
A Dance of Hope
January 19 | 7:30pm 
Orpheum Theater, Slosburg Hall
Click here to purchase tickets.
This, That, and the Other Thing
THIS is convincing evidence that at least eight television shows got Hanukkah right. Click here.

THAT one thing that can make a difference in a life. 
Based on a true story, this short video portrays how we may never know the far reaching effects of a small act of kindness - that by spreading the "light of Hanukkah" we can warm up a person's life.
Christians explain Hanukkah

Jews explain Christmas

You and Federation
Together with the  Jewish Federation of Omaha, you make our Jewish community more caring and connected. We've made a difference in the lives of so many by providing for those in need, building Jewish identity, and celebrating Jewish life.
Upcoming Events
Beth El Synagogue Switch Day at Blumkin Home
December 25 | 8am - 2:30pm
Volunteers relieve the staff at the Blumkin Home so that they can spend Christmas Day with their families.
Click here for more information and to volunteer
Beth El Synagogue Congregational Chanukah Dinner
December 25 | 6pm
Join us for delicious food and family entertainment. Bring your menorah and candles so we can light together.
Click here for more information and to register

Chinese Food & A Movie
December 25 | 6pm
Join us at Temple Israel for a catered Chinese dinner and a
family movie.
Beth El Synagogue Gift Shop Chanukah Sale
Until December 26.
Click here for more information

B'nai B'rith Breadbreakers
December 28 |  12pm
RBJH Auditorium

YJO Candle lighting
December 28 | 5:30pm
Remington Heights

Hanukkah Deli
December 30 | 11:30am - 1pm
Special: Latke Reuben with Fries

Temple Israel's Chanukah Service & Dinner
December 30
 5:30 pm - Candle lighting
and Kiddush in the Simon Community Court
6pm - Services
Dinner immediately following
Join us for a special, family-friendly, interactive Chanukah service, followed by dinner and games for all ages.
Bring your favorite family menorah to decorate your holiday table!
Cost:  $10 /adults; $5/children
no charge for kids under 2nd grade. RSVP, 402-556-6536 or, by Tuesday, December 27.

Young Adults @ Temple
TiYPE Chanukah Havdalah
(ages 18+)
December 31 |  7 pm
Join TiYPE, as we ring in the New Year for dinner in the Old Market at Spaghetti Works (appetizers are on us), followed by hot cocoa and a Havdalah service.

B'nai B'rith Breadbreakers
January 4 |  12pm
RBJH Auditorium

The Magic of Rituals
with Rabbi Berezin
Thursdays, 10am
January 5-12
Temple Israel
Eat, Pray, Schmooze (ages 22+)
January 7 | 10:30 am
Join TiYPE at Saturday morning services at Temple Israel. We will then be going to Swartz's Deli for a great knosh (appetizers are on us). Please RSVP to Aliyah Lasky by Tuesday, December 27.

Temple Israel Book Club
January 8 | 10am
"Orphaned on the Ocean"
by Richard Logan

Eye on Israel
January 9 | Noon
Kripke Jewish Federation Library
Save the Date
Carolyn Dorfman Dance
Legacy Project
January 19  |  7:30pm
Orpheum Theater
The Institute for Holocaust Education and Omaha Performing Arts present Carolyn Dorfman Dance The Legacy Project: A Dance of Hope at the Orpheum Theater.
Tickets can be purchased at  For more information contact Liz Feldstern at 402-334-6575.

Beth El Synagogue
Sisterhood Shabbat
January 21  |  9:30am
Join us as the women of Beth El conduct Shabbat morning services.  Services will be followed by a Kiddush kugel.

JCC Musical Theater Auditions
January 22 | 1:00 - 4:30pm
Registration is required to audition. Contact Esther Katz at for details and required materials.

Visiting Author on Parenting
February 2 | 6pm
Beth El Synagogue
 Marjorie Ingall (columnist for Tablet Magazine, and author of Mamaleh Knows Best: What Jewish Mothers Do to Raise Successful, Creative, Empathetic, Independent Children) will speak. PJ Library is providing dinner + babysitting so you can enjoy her presentation w/o wrangling the kids!
More info: Email Jennie or call 402-334-6445.

Pre-Purim Bash
March 5 | 6-8 pm
Omaha Children's Museum (OCM)
 PJ Library is hosting our big event at the OCM in March this year, right before Purim! We'll have special Purim-themed crafts and all the amazing museum activities for families to enjoy. Contact us if you are interested in joining the planning committee to add your input to this fun evening out.
More info: Email Jennie or call 402-334-6445.
Community Calendar
Check out what's happening
in Jewish Omaha on the Community Calendar. View
all kinds of upcoming events happening around town.

Have an event and want
to get the word out?

Remember, this is just a sampling from Jewish Omaha! To stay informed,
join our Twitter feed, check out our website, and the community calendar and watch for Federation's bi-monthly e- newsletter in your inbox. Then, most importantly, let us hear from you. We appreciate your feedback and we'll add your Jewish news to the mix.


Jewish Federation of Omaha   |   333 South 132nd Street   |  Omaha, NE 68154   | 402-334-8200