Riverview Manor ensures resident has a happy Hanukkah

Ken Greenberg celebrated the Festival of Lights with residents and staff

When Hanukkah began on Dec. 10, the Riverview Manor life enrichment team went to work to make sure a resident of the Jewish faith had everything he needed to celebrate the Festival of Lights.

Resident Ken Greenberg had a menorah to light and, as part of the Hanukkah tradition, received a small gift every morning during the course of the eight-day holiday.

Ken happily educated residents and staff about some of Hanukkah’s traditions, such as the dreidel, a spinning wooden top that’s played with during Hanukkah.

Ken and other residents spun a dreidel during Hanukkah, and Ken took the opportunity to explain its significance.

For example, each of the four sides of a dreidel has a letter from the Hebrew alphabet. The four letters – nun, gimel, hey and shin – stand for “nes gadol haya sham,” which translates to “a great miracle happened there.”

However, Ken explained, if a dreidel is made in Israel, the phrase is “nes gadol haya pho,” which means “a great miracle happened here.” On these dreidels, the letter shin is replaced with the letter peh.

“(The dreidel) was played because it is said that because Jewish people were outlawed from practising their religion and studying the Torah, they would use their dreidel to pretend that they were playing games,” Riverview Manor life enrichment aide (LEA) Adam Wicklum tells The OMNIway.

During Hanukkah, Ken had his own electric menorah in his room. For Hanukkah 2019, the life enrichment department purchased a small battery-powered menorah after Ken moved to the Peterborough long-term care home.

This menorah was placed in the window near the table where Ken has his meals, and during Hanukkah Ken would light the menorah at dinnertime. Team members also decorated the two windows near Ken’s table with a Hanukkah motif. Every morning before breakfast, an LEA would bring Ken a small gift.

Hanukkah began at sunset on Thursday, Dec. 10 and ended at sunset on Friday, Dec. 18. Hanukkah, which translates to the words “to dedicate,” is the eight-day celebration commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem in 165 BC.

Hanukkah, also called the Festival of Lights, begins on the 25th day of the month of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar.

People celebrate Hanukkah by eating traditional foods, playing games and exchanging gifts. The holiday is observed over eight days with the nightly lighting of the menorah candles and saying prayers.

Adam says it was important to celebrate Hanukkah at Riverview Manor because of the diversity of faith among residents and because it was an opportunity for residents to learn about one of Judaism’s most important holidays.

“It shows we care for one individual’s faith (and) special holiday, and (it was a chance) to educate and share culture with other residents,” he says.

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