(Courtesy of Kaplen JCC) In preparation for Chanukah, Emek families at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades and other Israeli families in Bergen County volunteered to take part in a special Chanukah project called “Spread the Light in the Community,” which was designed to warm people’s hearts and bring some extra holiday cheer to people in our community who would benefit and appreciate some extra care and comfort. Families willing to volunteer got to choose from a number of options that included: baking pastries to sell at a play and donating the proceeds to The Israeli Center for Guidance Dogs; sharing in activities and games with Alzheimer’s patients and senior adults; making menorahs and gifting them to Holocaust survivors; making pancakes and organizing social games for adolescents with special needs, transporting families in need to the JCC Chanukah party; and purchasing and packaging gifts for foster children. Their efforts created really meaningful bonds and made a huge impact. It brought the gift of light to everyone’s hearts and cheered both the volunteers and the people in the community they volunteered to cheer!
“Organizing these kinds of interactive activities is one of the key reasons to have a program like Emek here at the JCC,” says Galit Goldberg, director of Emek, the JCC afterschool Israeli language and culture program for children in pre-K to 10. “It brings meaning to our life and our holiday and allows us to share it with others. The Spread the Light program was a heartfelt cooperative effort that we can build on with really meaningful results.”
“When the Emek students volunteered with our seniors, they played Chanukah Bingo, sang Chanukah songs, made dreidels and played dreidel games,” shared Marlene Ceragno, program and caregiver services coordinator for the JCC Senior Center. “For many of our seniors, it was the first time they played dreidel, and for others, the experience brought back wonderful memories. It was a really special addition to our day and we can’t thank these kids enough for sharing what lights up their lives and lighting up ours by doing so. The Emek program and its wonderful staff are a ‘light in our community’ and we are grateful to have this incredible program and team here at the JCC.”
For more information on Emek, contact Galit Goldberg at 201.566.1507 or [email protected].