Party introduces Findlay neighbors to Hanukkah
Jerusalem candles from Israel will be presented as gifts to people attending the first neighborhood Hanukkah party Tuesday evening in Findlay, OH.
By BRENNA GRITEMAN
Wed. Dec 13th, 2017
Fulfilling one of dozens of requests made by her late husband, a Findlay woman hosted a neighborhood Hanukkah party Tuesday evening. (First Day of Hanukkah, 12-12-2017)
“I know there’s very few Jewish families in Findlay,” Nancy Abrams said, noting that the party was also meant to allow her friends and neighbors of differing faiths the opportunity to learn more about Hanukkah.
People who gathered at Abrams’ home were presented with Jewish wine, lots of fried foods, and Jerusalem candles meant to bring spirituality, morality, justice and happiness to their recipients.
“Basically, Hanukkah is a celebration of oil,” Abrams said. “So, you should really use oil and greasy food to celebrate.”
With this in mind, she prepared mini-jelly doughnuts, chicken wings and bite-size quiches for her guests, among other fried delicacies.
She skipped the bagels, but says she does typically decorate a giant Christmas tree in her front window — right next to the menorah — with bagel ornaments.
“You try and assimilate,” she said, gesturing toward all the Christmas-themed decorations in her house. (Her daughter, too, is married to an Italian-Catholic, who promised to sing “Hallelujah” during Tuesday night’s festivities.)
Hanukkah is often referred to as the “Festival of Lights.” Abrams explained that it centers around oil.
According to the Talmud, one of Judaism’s most central texts, Jews who participated in the re-dedication of a temple witnessed a miracle: Even though there was only enough oil to keep the menorah’s candles burning for one day, the candles burned for eight days. This event inspired the Jewish sages to proclaim a yearly eight-day festival.
Abrams and her Jewish friends from Findlay have typically attended Hanukkah services at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, since Findlay lacks any organized observation of the holiday.
Abrams said her late husband, Al, had always wanted the couple to host a Hanukkah party but they never got around to it.
He died unexpectedly in 2015, leaving her with 50 envelopes detailing requests he wanted her to fulfill after his death.
Other requests included finishing the three spy novels he’d been working on, and creating a combined headstone for his parents’ graves in Michigan.
Al in 1959 convinced the founder of a Detroit record company to hire him to help with record promotion. That company went on to become Motown Records, and Al became the first paid employee of the company and remained in its employ until 1966.
Another of his requests for his wife was to launch the website motownblackwhite.com, which tells the story of Motown through Al’s eyes.
Aside from launching the website, Tuesday’s party marked the first of her late husband’s requests fulfilled. Abrams believes he would be pleased by the celebration she planned.
“I’m going to feed them, entertain them and provide drinks,” she said of her guests. “I just want people to enjoy the evening.”