Channukah at Ramaz

Joyce Salame ’23

Chanukah at Ramaz is an exciting time for both students and faculty, with days full of trips, chesed projects, and inspiring programming meant to elevate the spirit of the holiday. This year, Chanukah coincided with winter break, so all Chanukah activities took place during the last week of school in December.

On Wednesday, December 18, Ramaz took the freshman, sophomore, and junior students out of school on a special trip in celebration of Chanukah. The freshman class went to Bryant Park to go ice skating, in addition to spending time in the small winter-themed shops of Bryant Park Winter Village where students enjoyed purchasing socks, kosher hot chocolate, cookie dough, and even fedoras. Sophomores spent the day at the Nickelodeon theme park in American Dream Mall, and the juniors went rock climbing at High Exposure in New Jersey.

The next day, Yachad members came to Ramaz to spend the day with the students. They baked cookies special for the holiday in the shapes of dreidels and menorahs, decorated tzedakah boxes, sang songs, told stories, and lit the menorah. Every member of Yachad was then sent home with a bag full of cookies; everyone had a great time.

That Friday, the students were privileged to take part in an assembly about how individuals can all be purveyors of miracles in their own lives. Rabbi Sklarin spoke about his experience donating bone marrow: when he was in college, he was asked to get his cheeked swabbed for a potential bone marrow donation. What started out as an insignificant five-minute break from his day ultimately became a multiple-occasion life-saving bone marrow donation to those in need.

Additionally, Seth Davis of IsraAid came to speak about the miracles that he and his team help make happen in different communities affected by natural disasters around the globe. IsraAid not only directly provides urgent aid but also teaches the community members  how they can reduce the risk of disasters in the future, for example, teaching them how to purify their water. Seth Davis explained that in times of crisis, “We are the first to arrive and the last to leave.” IsraAid has helped many people and communities throughout the world, and embodies the overall message of the Chanukah programing at Ramaz: learning how to infuse the idea of a miracle into peoples’ daily lives.