Other Festival Events

Creative Suggestions for Particular Holidays

This information comes from a module of the LJ Ba’alei Tefillah (lay leadership training) programme. It gives some useful hints and tips with regard to preparing for festival celebrations within your community.

Pesach

  • Have a chocolate seder for kids.
  • Collect all the (unopened) chametz from the community and donate it to a homeless shelter.
  • Run a letter campaign against human trafficking.
  • Have an Omer calendar-making session, so everyone can creatively count the Omer at home.
  • Bring together a group to work through and discuss Rabbi Simon Jacobson’s “Counting the Omer”.

Yom ha-Shoah

  • Hold a congregational memorial service.
  • If you have a Czech Memorial Trust Scroll, make a connection with it in the service.
  • Read names of family members who died in the the Shoah.
  • Support/run a campaign against racism/anti-Semitism.

Yom ha-Atzma’ut

  • Run an Israel education day.
  • Stage a carnival/fair to raise money for an organisation in Israel.
  • Do a congregational walk for Israel.
  • Hold a special Israeli-themed kiddush (falafel, pitta, etc.) after the Shabbat Atzma’ut service.

Shavuot

  • It is traditional to hold the Shavuot evening service, followed by tikkun l’eil Shavuot, which is a concentrated time devoted to studying Torah. The study is generally focussed around a chosen theme. Some communities study and learn for a few hours while others hold extended—even all-night—sessions, followed by Shavuot morning worship. The tikkun experience need not be limited to text-study. Some communities do more experiential or art-based projects to celebrate Shavuot. You might have a “mitzvah pledge” campaign in which each person commits to the practice one particular mitzvah a year—for example, volunteering for a particular charity or giving time at a nursing home. Kids can pledge, too!  No Shavuot celebration is complete without the eating of cheesecake (or non-dairy substitute)!

Chanukkah

  • Throw a Chanukkah party with a fair-trade bazaar.
  • Have a Chanukkah/Shabbat chavurah supper with candle lighting and gift-grab.
  • Bring the gift of music to a Jewish home.
  • Organise a public chanukkiyah lighting/celebration.

Tu Bish’vat

  • Hold a communal Tu Bish’vat Seder.
  • Plant trees.
  • Adopt a neglected patch around your synagogue or somewhere else in the neighbourhood (a la Guerilla Gardeners) and get the whole community involved in its revitalisation.
  • Host a communal park-cleaning day
  • Bring flowers/plants to home-bound members of the community

Purim

  • Distribute mishloach manot (gifts) to a local elderly care home.
  • Re-write the Megillah and perform it.
  • Fancy dress competition.