Dignitaries Attend Adams Hill Hanukkah Celebration

Council members Paula Devine, Ardy Kassakhian and Mayor Dan Brotman help a child light the menorah at Adams Square Mini Park.
Photos by Eliza PARTIKA



Around 200 people attended a Hanukkah celebration in Adams Hill on Dec. 10, including Glendale City Council members Ardy Kassakhian, Elen Asatryan, Paula Devine and Mayor Dan Brotman.

The event featured speakers telling the story of Hanukkah, singing traditional songs, serving traditional sweets like challah bread, jelly donuts and gelt, and the lighting of the menorah.

“Hanukkah holds great importance for me as it symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness and the resilience of the Jewish people. The festival commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the miracle of the oil lasting for eight days. In a broader sense, Hanukkah serves as a reminder of the enduring spirit of religious freedom and the power of hope in the face of adversity,” said Jeremy Aluma of the Adams Hill Neighborhood Association.

Jeremy Aluma, member of Adams Hill Neighborhood Association, shares the story of Hanukkah.

Attendees shared their family Hanukkah traditions including multiple renditions of the dreidel song: “Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of wood, I know it’s not original, but hey it spins so good! Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of mud, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, it surely is a dud.”

“Dreidel dreidel dreidel, I made it out of bread and when it was all ready I ate it up instead” improvised one attendee decked in a Hanukkah sweater with glowing menorah lights.

“I was delighted that a very diverse group turned out in Adams Hill this year. I have always enjoyed celebrating Hanukkah because it is a commemoration of historical events celebrated symbolically with the lighting of candles – a true Festival of Lights,” said Arlene Vidor, a member of the Adams HIll Neighborhood Association who attends and helps organize the yearly celebration. “And it involves plenty of fun: games, dancing, singing, telling of the Hanukkah story and plenty of eating yummy traditional holiday treats. Thanks to the contributions from many of our residents, we had a bounty of those.”

Sophia Varona, who works as a registration and outreach manager at Bob Waldorf Summer Camp, entered non-profit work for the Jewish-based organization and found a community she said is unlike any others. She celebrated Hanukkah as a way to bring friends of all faiths together.

“I feel like often you don’t know your neighbors, but then to particularly know that you have neighbors [who] are Jewish – I think it’s just important. I think community is so important nowadays, to know the people around you and just get to know folks that you might not always go up to every day and say hello,” said Varona.

Jewish organizations Nefesh, Bob Waldorf Summer Camps and Temple Sinai of Glendale set up tables at the event. Temple Sinai, and the Jewish community around it, has been in Glendale for 96 years.

“Having a menorah as a symbol of light is something that is good for everybody … especially now with so much anti-Semitism going on, to know that people can come together,” said a representative of Temple Sinai.

Aluma said recent rises in anti-Semetism have made celebrations of community, family history and religion even more important.

“Celebrating Hanukkah is a way for me to honor and preserve my cultural and religious heritage. It’s a time to reflect on the historical events that shaped the festival and to appreciate the values of perseverance and faith. Additionally, in today’s context, with the rise of antisemitism and anti-Jewishness, celebrating Hanukkah becomes even more significant. Public acts during the festival can help combat antisemitism by fostering understanding, tolerance and solidarity within the community and beyond. By coming together in large numbers, including local politicians, we can raise awareness about the importance of religious freedom and stand united against discrimination and prejudice,” he said.