A matter of faith
Many families enjoy annual traditions around the holidays, some of which may be widely followed and others that are unique to each family. The same is true for faith communities; while there are many holiday traditions that are common to every church, temple or synagogue, they often blend together in unique combinations, made more personal by a local twist.
Nowhere is that more true than in Lake Oswego, where people of all faiths gather for joyous celebrations of the season. That includes the children of Beit Haverim, who show off their creative side for Hanukkah with an annual menorah-making contest.
"The kids have been building menorahs out of anything they can find," says Barbara Gold, Beit Haverim's office manager. "Pieces of wood, or toys, or making their own candle holders. They display them at the Hanukkah dinner, and everybody gets a prize. The kids there are pretty proud of showing off what they've made."
Hanukkah dinner is another annual tradition for the congregation, although non-members can also reserve spots and join as long as space is available. The dinner includes traditional Hanukkah staples.
"Since the holiday is based on the legend of how a little bit of oil lasted in the oil lamps for eight days, we celebrate things that are fried in oil," Gold says. "So latkes (potato pancakes) are a perennial favorite, and then traditionally we have jelly donuts for dessert. So what's not to love?"
The dinner this year is planned for Friday, Dec. 15, partway through the eight nights of Hanukkah. Following tradition, a new candle on the menorah will be lit each night.
"They're all lit by one candle, which is called the Shamash, and that's the lead candle that lights the other ones," Gold says. "Every night for eight nights, we light a candle and we sing blessings for the Festival of Lights."
For more about the holiday traditions of Lake Oswego's faith-based congregations, check out the new LO Monthly magazine. You'll find it inside the Dec. 7 issue of The Review.
— Anthony Macuk