Catching Up With Ohr Chadash by Ruth Merrill

November and December were very busy months at Ohr Chadash.  On Sunday November 1, former HHJC member (Retired Prof.) Jeff Lambert, Educational Director for the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind, educated, informed and captivated kitot Gimel, Dalet, Hey and Gesher during an hour long program.  Accompanied by his grandson, Noah, and Shannon, a four year old black Lab “Goodwill Ambassador” for the organization, Professor Lambert taught the children about this very worthwhile organization. He explained how the guide dogs are trained, many of the specific challenges faced by the visually impaired in Israel, programs for young children and the life of “retired” guide dogs.  During the latter part of the program, our students had an opportunity to interact with Shannon.  At the end of the program, Sam Menzie a student in kitah Gimel and Hannah Gorochow a student in kitah Dalet, answered questions and won complimentary Israel Guide Dog t-shirts.  All monies collected this year in our Tzedakkah boxes will be donated to this very worthwhile organization as a token of our thanks.  Thank you to Rabbi Wise of HHJC, for forwarding the information to the school and helping facilitate an exceptional learning and Chesed experience.

Although Ohr Chadash officially meets on Wednesday afternoon and Sunday morning, on Friday evening, November 20th, HJC and Ohr Chadash hosted a Kabbalat Shabbat Dinner for children and families in kitot Gan-Katan through Gimel.  Cantor Fuchs, of HJC, warmed up the attendees with inspirational words and songs about the beauty of peace on Shabbat.  A child friendly mini Kabbalat Shabbat service was led by Rabbis Kogan (HJC) and Fryer Bodzin (ICCJ).  They reminded us about being thankful for Shabbat, the wonders of life, simple and complex, big and small.  Kiddush was recited, Shalom Aleichem was sung and the forty-nine attendees sat down and enjoyed a non-traditional Shabbat meal of mini franks, three types of French fries, various breads and Challah and six different deli meats.  Fruit and cake completed the meal.  Cakes were provided by Violet’s Bake Shop in honor of her three grandsons who are students of Ohr Chadash.  Thanks to Morah Shari (Morah of Mechina) and the staff at HJC for their assistance in making this a delicious and memorable evening possible.

The year is passing very quickly and the annual Hanukkah Happening was held on Sunday, December 6th.   After very brief greetings and the presentations of gifts to the staff by PA President Jennifer Reich, children, their guests and staff experienced part of the miracle of Hanukkah.  Jewish Children 18, a division of Tzivos Hashem, taught the children about Hanukkah and presented a hands-on program recreating how olive oil was pressed and collected for the Menorah in the Bait haMikdash (Temple) in Jerusalem.  The children had an opportunity to see what a painstaking and slow process it was to accumulate enough oil to keep the Menorah lit. Pressing the actual olives reinforced the extent of the miracle associated with the oil.  At the conclusion of the demonstration many of the children decorated large dreidels and built Chanukkiyot (Menorahs) that they will use for years to come.  Thank you to the Parents Association for the refreshments and Hanukkah gifts to the children.

As Ohr Chadash completes the fall term, I wish to thank Hollis Hills Jewish Center for graciously hosting the school.  We will move in mid-January to ICCJ.