Ten Reasons to Celebrate Hanukkah THIS YEAR

NUMBER 10: You have been so careful all year about eating healthy--and now your body deserves to enjoy an exquisite crispy latke with sour cream and apple sauce.

NUMBER 9: The non-stop caroling music in the malls started this year in late October and there have been over 10,000 ads on television about "Black Friday." Would it kill you to have a little bit of Jewish joy this December?

NUMBER 8: A Hanukkah party is one of those rare moments when the grown-ups feel like kids while the children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and neighbor kids feel they are a part of living history.

NUMBER 7: This year there has been so much sadness in the world at large and in many of our families. Maybe we do need to light a candle and feel connected with community more than ever.

NUMBER 6: There is an "Antiochus Wanna-Be" in Tehran who thinks it's possible to wipe out the Jews. When you light candles, spin dreydels, dance with joy, and join together as one people this December you are saying to him, "No way. Not this time."

NUMBER 5: This year we enjoy the fact that at Ahavat Torah Congregation in Brentwood there is remarkable cooperation and warmth between the lively Jews who use the Gem in the Glen on Saturdays, the lively Lutherans who gather on Sundays, and the lively Muslims who worship on Fridays. This year we celebrate the fact that our Rabbi Miriam Hamrell has been asked to tell our story (of 3 faiths getting along well) at the Parliament of World Religions during the first week of December. Nes Gadol Hayah Po, Miracles are Happening HERE!!!

NUMBER 4: Most kids, teens, and young adults know this year that in the United States of America they celebrate Jewish holidays now in the White House. Michelle Obama's cousin is a rabbi who joined with Rahm Emanuel, Sasha, Malia, their dad the leader of the free world, and a diverse group of Jews and non-Jews for a passionate Seder in April 2009. This year in December 2009 they might also be having dreydels, latkes, sufganiyot, and a menorah at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

NUMBER 3: When we celebrate Hanukkah and joyfully stand up for religious freedom, we honor the memory of every man and woman who has risked their lives to declare, "I am a Jew." We dance and sing this year for Hannah Senesch and Danny Pearl and Rabbi Akiva and our 6 million family members and every Israeli soldier who has ever risked his or her life for our people.

NUMBER 2: You've already watched Jimmy Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life" more times than you have fingers. This year is an opportunity to turn off the TV and come celebrate the freedom and creativity that is yours.

NUMBER 1: The miracle of Hanukkah is not just the oil that burned for 8 days. It's that the inner light of an Infinite Source of Love is still strong in our hearts, in our families, and in our inspiring community.

Please bring some light and joy into this season. You and your friends and loved ones are invited to come celebrate the Festival of Lights with Ahavat Torah Congregation at our annual Hanukkah party, Tuesday night, December 15th at 6:30 pm. All are welcome!

The live music, dancing, festive foods, children's craft table, and amazing desserts will happen at 343 Church Lane (between Sunset Blvd. and Montana Avenue, one block west of the 405 Freeway).

Bring your own Hanukkah menorah and candles to add to the light and celebration. Also bring a book or CD to share.

Children under 10 can celebrate for free, Adults and Teens are asked to contribute $10.

To RSVP or if you have questions, please contact Blanche Moss at 310 271-4042 or