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updated: 12/6/2017 5:55 PM

Elgin firefighters to lead 'Gelt Drop' at Chabad Jewish Center of Elgin's Hanukkah Party

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Submitted by Chabad Jewish Center of Elgin

On Tuesday, Dec. 12, Chabad Jewish Center of Elgin will hold a communitywide Hanukkah celebration at 5:30 p.m. at The Centre of Elgin, 45 Symphony Way. What will be unique about this event will be the activity that leads it off, one that is assumed to remain etched in the memory of all present.

Celebrants will witness a "Gelt Drop." Firefighters from the Elgin fire station will be climbing up on their ladders and showering the attendees with chocolate gelt.

This activity will bring the ancient custom of giving children gelt on Hanukkah to a whole new level. The custom of giving gelt, which is Yiddish for money, was designed to offer children positive reinforcement for exemplary behavior, particularly as a reward for diligence in their studies, as well as to train them into giving charity. A more contemporary version of giving gelt evolved into chocolate coins in gold foil wrapping -- which is now frequently associated with the holiday.

In Elgin, not only will there be chocolate gelt, but it will be raining down with much drama and fanfare. Chabad Jewish Center of Elgin is known for its innovative approach to Jewish education and the "Gelt Drop" will not disappoint.

"I wanted to take a tradition and make it magical. There is nothing more dynamic than dropping chocolate from the sky," said Shterna Shemtov, co-director of Chabad Jewish Center of Elgin commented. "I can't wait to see the reaction! I'm hoping this will create amazing memories for all children present."

At this free event, participants also will enjoy doughnuts and latkes. The celebration will begin with a Giant Menorah lighting.

"It is a holiday that enriches our lives with the light of tradition," said Rabbi Shemtov, director of Chabad Jewish Center of Elgin. "In ancient times our ancestors rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem with the Menorah. Today, we rededicate ourselves to making this world a better and brighter place. Hanukkah also propagates the universal message that ultimately good will prevail over evil, freedom over oppression and light over darkness."

Throughout the state of Illinois, Chabad will be presenting scores of Hanukkah events and celebrations, including public menorah lightings, giant menorahs made out of ice and Legos, Menorah Parades, Latkes parties, Giant Dreidel Houses, "Chanukah Wonderlands" and more. For more information about Hanukkah and a local schedule of events, visit www.ElginChabad.com/Chanukah.

ABOUT HANUKKAH

Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, begins this year on the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 12 and concludes the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 20. It recalls the victory of a militarily weak Jewish people who defeated the Syrian Greeks who had overrun ancient Israel and sought to impose restrictions on the Jewish way of life and prohibit religious freedom. They also desecrated and defiled the Temple and the oils prepared for the lighting of the menorah, which was part of the daily service. Upon recapturing the Temple only one jar of undefiled oil was found, enough to burn only one day, but it lasted miraculously for eight. In commemoration Jews celebrate Hanukkah for eight days by lighting an eight-branched candelabra known as a menorah. Today, people of all faiths consider the holiday a symbol and message of the triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, of light over darkness. Additional information about the Hanukkah holiday is available at www.ElginChabad.com/Chanukah.

ABOUT THE SPONSORING ORGANIZATION

Chabad Jewish Center of Elgin offers Jewish education, outreach, and social service programming for families and individuals of all ages, backgrounds and affiliations. For more information, contact Rabbi Mendel Shemtov at (847) 440-4486 or rabbi@elginchabad.com.

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