RANCHO SANTA FE — The Chabad Jewish Center of Rancho Santa Fe welcomed more 300 guests for its special celebration named Miracles & Magic of Chanukah. The first night of Hanukkah took place at the Inn of Rancho Santa Fe on Dec. 18.
People of all ages enjoyed the festivities. Delicious food was abundant including fresh Israeli donuts, potato latkes, Hanukkah s’mores and more.
“The 11th annual Ranch Santa Fe Chanukah Celebration is always a favorite as the Rancho Santa Fe Jewish community comes together in unity to celebrate the joyous holiday of Hanukkah and kindle the 9-foot Menorah together,” Rabbi Levi Raskin, director of Chabad Jewish Center of Rancho Santa Fe, said.
The children had an especially memorable time creating unique menorah sand art necklaces and holiday greeting cards. Hanukkah face painting was also a hub of activity.
At the Inn’s wintertime rink, families ice skated to the sounds of Hanukkah music.
Raskin said they are fortunate to have such a special annual celebration in the Ranch. He also expressed his sincere gratitude and appreciation to this year’s event sponsors, Dr. Bob and Mao Shillman, as well as the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe.
“We would like to thank the Inn’s General Manager Jerome Strack and the phenomenal staff at the Inn for all their assistance in making it a Chanukah to remember,” Raskin said.
According to Raskin, the Rancho Santa Fe Jewish community was honored to have representatives from Congressman Darrell Issa’s office, Association President Fred Wasserman and director and spiritual leader Rabbi Yonah Fradkin of the Chabad of San Diego County in attendance.
Raskin said guests were welcomed by the RSF Hebrew School of the Arts, which started the event by entertaining everyone with their latke recipe music video and dreidel songs.
“We then had Aron Wellman, of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, who shared an inspiring message about Hanukkah — celebrating the miracles of then and now — and in solitude to all those who recently were affected by the Lilac fires,” Raskin said.
Participants also looked forward to Raskin’s unique and powerful message. Afterward, each person received a candle in unity for the menorah lighting ceremony.
“We each have the power to kindle the spark in another, through kindness, charity and good deeds, we can illuminate the world one good deed-mitzvah-at a time,” Raskin explained.
While Bob Shillman recited the menorah blessings, everyone recited the blessing for the new holiday.
Toward the end of the evening, guests were mesmerized by Ilan Smith, a world-renowned illusionist from South Africa.
Raskin described the entire celebration as a moving experience, with the Jewish community uniting as one to celebrate the start of Hanukkah.