Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 | 2 a.m.
There was singing, dancing and lots of latkes Tuesday morning at Temple Beth Sholom as nearly 300 seniors from around the valley gathered to eat, socialize and celebrate the approaching Hanukkah holiday.
Residents at 30 senior living homes from as far away as Boulder City rode buses to the temple, near Town Center Drive and Desert Inn Road, for L’Dor V’Dor, which in Hebrew means “Generation to Generation.”
The free event, which has been staged five times a year for the past 13 years, gives homebound seniors an opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy a warm, kosher meal.
“The idea is to socialize and get out of the house. Some of them can’t make it outside the house on their own,” said Shel Kolner, who helped organize the event. “It gives them something to look forward to. We want them to feel a part of something.”
The morning program included performances by the more than 100 preschool students who attend the Sandra and Stanley Mallin Early Childhood Center at the temple.
Dressed as dreidels, candles and latkes — a potato pancake traditionally served during Hanukkah — the students, who ranged in age from 18 months to 5 years, sang and danced to a number of holiday tunes, including “Rock and Roll Dreidel,” "I Have a Little Dreidel” and a Hanukkah-themed version of the popular Black Eyed Peas song “I Have a Feeling.”
The performance drew cheers from the crowd members, who sang and clapped along with the students, and also served as a dress rehearsal for the preschoolers, who will have a holiday program next week at the temple for friends and families, said Jennifer Zuckowski, director of the preschool.
During the program, the temple’s rabbi, Felipe Goodman, explained the history and meaning of Hanukkah, which begins at sunset Saturday, to an audience with many non-Jewish members.
Kolner said more than half of the attendees at Tuesday’s event weren’t Jewish, giving the temple an opportunity to share its faith and traditions with a broader audience.
“For many people, (Judaism) is a mystery to them,” Kolner said. “We’re sharing the holiday spirit, and hopefully they learned a little about Hanukkah.”
After the program, the seniors were served a meal of chicken, latkes and vegetables at the temple. For dessert, cake was served to celebrate the 100th birthdays of attendees Ann Sharp and Helene Stadler.
“The idea is the younger generation is taking care of the older generation. We’re thinking of them,” Kolner said of L’Dor V’Dor. “They built the groundwork for all that we’ve enjoyed over the years.”