ree om To Learn
The celebration of Chanukah is a new experience
for immigrants at a special Chanukah party.
JENNIFER FINER JEWISH NEWS INTERN
shows off her
ine-year-old Elina Reznik never had
On Sunday, she made one.
Eleven-year-old Yana Vortsman
knew there was a Jewish holiday
called Chanukah. But she had no
idea why it was celebrated.
On Sunday, she learned.
Elina and Yana, along with other
New American children and their
families, attended the Jimmy Pren-
tis Morris Jewish Community Cen-
ter for a Chanukah party sponsored
by Jewish Experiences For Families
(JEFF) and the Young Adult Divi-
sion of the Jewish Federation of Met-
ropolitan Detroit (YAD).
"The idea was to teach these chil-
dren about Chanukah and give them
the tools to bring Chanukah into
their homes," said Ellie Slovis, JEFF
coordinator of New American pro-
Many Jewish children from the
former Soviet Union, including Irma
Volvovskaya, came to America know-
ing little about their Jewish heritage.
What they do know is that practic-
ing Judaism in their former home-
"The idea was to
teach these children
land could be very difficult.
"The other (Russian) people
don't like Jews," Inna said. "If they
saw us (practicing Judaism), they
might have done something bad
Since coming to America, Irma has
learned about Chanukah in Hebrew
Even before Sunday, 4-year-old
Pavel Okun said he learned about
the eight-day holiday in school, Yeshi-
va Beth Yehudah. Pavel said he
knows he is supposed to put candles
in the menorah and that Chanukah
is a Jewish holiday celebrated by a
lot of children.
During the party, children had
the opportunity to make wooden drei-
dels, menorot and Chanukah deco-
rations. They also were given
Chanukah guides in Russian, can-
dles and a Russian/English pop-up
storybook put together by YAD vol-
Maureen Schiffman brought pup-
petry, storytelling and music to tell
the Chanukah story, which was
translated into Russian. ❑