That December day the driveway in front of the temple had been transformed into the starting line (and later, the finish line) of TBE’s first annual Dreidel Dash 5K. The race number pinned to the front of my running jacket represented my contribution to TBE’s Youth Engagement Fund. Kids from our congregation who needed financial support would now have access to scholarships to participate in Jewish teen events at TBE and beyond, like Havayah programs and overnight camp. The $4500 the event raised through sponsorships, race registrations, apparel sales, and donations, would make this possible. With that, the warmth began to spread.
How could it not? The brainchild of Havayah youth staff leader Hannah Richman Kearney, the TBE community Chanukah celebration was created out of love of community and love of our temple youth. The celebration included elements that appealed to all congregants, runners and non-runners, youngsters and non-youngsters.
The morning kicked off with TBE’s littlests (Yaldeinu) racing around the parking lot, including Rabbi Sherman hustling along with his children. Next, the big kids of Limud ran their custom course, chasing a dreidel-costumed Rabbi Saphire. Music DJed by our own Havayah teen members set the atmosphere outside, while Havayah Senior Leadership Team member Jonah Michel, donned in running shorts and a blue tutu, encouraged the crowd of runners inside to stretch and get ready to run. Volunteers of all ages (even Naomi Brown in a walking boot!) registered the last-minute die-hards that showed up to be a part of the only Chanukah race in a region full of Jingle Bell runs.
The Dreidel Dash 5K was a testament to our community as the race wound its way through the streets surrounding TBE. The warmth I felt running rivaled what we all feel while in the sanctuary during services. Neighbors cheered us on from their front steps. New and familiar faces filled the pack of runners. In the crowd was my husband Larry Michel and our 13-year old son Spike. Marking the first mile was Karen Wolfson, who I knew from working on the education committee. The noise at the halfway point was deafening as cheers from the Havayah Teen Water Station encouraged me to keep going. Directing runners around the final turn was Heather Levinson and her daughters, whom I met through a mutual friend from our Chavayah group when we first joined the temple. Dreidel Dash committee member David Levinson bobbed up ahead, sporting a full body Dreidel costume. (David always lands on gimel.)
Prizes were also awarded to top finishers in their age groups. Sadly, I placed third in my age group. Why sadly? Not because I coveted first place, but because there were only 3 women in the group! Next year please join me and last year’s 225 other runners to fill all the age brackets and participate in the Dreidel Dash events. All are welcome, from newborns to centenarians. Help us support two important causes – the TBE Youth Engagement Fund and the TBE community.
TBE Celebrates Chanukah: Join us for this year’s community-wide Chanukah celebration on Sunday, December 8, 2019, for an all morning event. Not up for running? Then exercise your mind with our new “Dreidel Drash,” a Chanukah brain challenge. Volunteer to help things run smoothly. Or just come and absorb all the warmth flowing through and around TBE as we celebrate our community and the Festival of Lights. Learn more and register today »