Hanukkah event brings tradition to the ice Dancing and singing are combined in hopes of bringing the community together to celebrate the holiday. Hanukkah Events

Posted: December 21, 2003

The hora is a frenzied Israeli folk dance in which the participants form a ring, hold hands, then step and kick to a spirited melody.

On ice skates it should prove to be even more of a spectacle.

Rabbi Yitzchok Kahan's eyes light up when he describes his plans for the area's first "Hanukkah on Ice" family festival. Song, dance, ice-skating and a menorah carved from ice are planned for the Wednesday night event at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees.

The event, sponsored by the Chabad Lubavitch Center in Cherry Hill, is open to the public.

First, a professional ice carver will create a 200-pound ice menorah with a chain saw and two blocks of ice, said Kahan, the youth and program director at the center.

It is expected to take Kim Phuong of Chalfont, Bucks County, an hour to complete his work. Earlier this month, Phuong carved a 70-inch snowman for Antiques Row during night shopping hours in Philadelphia.

When completed, the 4-foot-wide, 2-foot-tall menorah will be placed on a table and rolled into the center of the rink. Candles, placed in holes drilled into the ice menorah, will be lighted by Kahan and Rabbi Mendel Mangel, who performs services at the synagogue, which serves about 300 residents of Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties.

The climax will be skaters doing the hora around the lighted menorah, Kahan said. Contemporary and traditional Hebrew tunes will blare over the loudspeaker.

"It's cool to have the ice with the fire. . . . We want to take the warmth of the Hanukkah light and melt away the cold, which is the evil," Kahan said.

Kahan, 25, who arrived in Cherry Hill from Brooklyn in July, wanted an exciting event that would bring the community out to celebrate the holiday together. He also plans to hold skating races and games, a Hanukkah-themed sand-art project for children, and face-painting.

On Tuesday, Kahan laced up a pair of black-and-orange rental skates and gingerly tested the sparkling ice at the popular rink. A group of heavily padded hockey players had just lumbered off the ice.

Kahan, wearing a yellow tie and a black overcoat, confessed that he hadn't been on skates since he was 15.

"I like to tackle things. It'll take me a couple of minutes to get the hang of it again," he said. Gradually gaining confidence, Kahan beamed and picked up the pace. High in the air he gleefully lifted a brass menorah he had brought along. He began to glide.

"That was really fun," a huffing Kahan said afterward. The rabbi, a father of an 8-month-old boy, plans to skate during the festivities.

Mangel brought Kahan to the Chabad Lubavitch Center to organize activities and initiate outreach programs.

For the Hanukkah on Ice event, Kahan has also built a hollow, 4-foot-tall wooden dreidel, which he filled with hundreds of standard-size dreidels, small tops used in Hanukkah games. A Plexiglas window allows a peek inside. Children will be invited to guess how many the large dreidel contains.

Kahan heard about Hanukkah on Ice events from rabbis in other states who have organized them. "I wanted something that would attract kids and a rink that kids would get excited about," he said.

Jewish holiday food such as sufganiot, similar to the doughnut; gelt, a chocolate treat; and potato latkes will be served.

Kahan said the ice menorah would be taken to the synagogue after the event and put on display. Phuong told him that the sculpture could be transported in two pieces, then "glued" back together at the Chabad Lubavitch Center.

"He said to put the pieces together and run hot water over it. The hot water is the glue," Kahan said, chuckling.

If the temperature stays under 30 degrees, the menorah is expected to remain on display outdoors for two weeks.

Contact suburban staff writer Jan Hefler at 856-779-3224 or jhefler@phillynews.com.

A list of Hanukkah special events (check with organization for religious services).

Events free unless noted.

Burlington County

Congregation Beth Tikvah 115 Evesboro-Medford Rd, Marlton; 856-983-8090. Progressive Latke Dinner & Hanukkah Program. Call for prices. 5 p.m. Wednesday. Family Fun Day with food & games. Call for prices. 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Temple Sinai 2101 New Albany Rd, Cinnaminson; 856-829-0658. Men's Club Chanukah Party. 10:30 a.m. today.

Camden County

Chabad Lubavitch Center 1925 Kresson Rd, Cherry Hill; 856-874-1500. Family Olive Press, make olive oil to light the Menorah. $5 family. 1 p.m. Thursday.

Chanukah on Ice Ice-skating, menorah lighting, food. Flyers Skate Zone, 601 Laurel Oak Rd Voorhees; 856-874-1500. $12; $10 advance. 7-9 p.m. Wednesday.

Congregation Beth El 856-675-1166. Katz Educational Center at the Appel Campus, 8000 Main St, Voorhees. Children's Chanukah Program. 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Garden State Discovery Museum 2040 Springdale Rd, Cherry Hill; 856-424-1233. Lights & Latkes with candle-making workshop, food, storytelling. $10. 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. today. Reservations required.

Katz Jewish Community Center 1301 Springdale Rd, Cherry Hill; 856-424-4444. Family Hanukkah Celebration with dreidel games, latkes, crafts, olive oil factory, music by Kiryat Yam Youth Orchestra ($5; $3 advance. 4 p.m.). 3:30-5 p.m. today. Character Breakfast; ages under 8 & family. Pancake breakfast with cartoon & movie characters. $12; free ages under 2. 10-11:30 a.m. Thursday. Family Fun Day with swimming, movies, pool, ping pong more; all ages. Free (JCC members only). Noon-4 p.m. Thursday.

Menorah Lighting Ceremony Cherry Hill Mall, Center Court, 2000 Rte 38, Cherry Hill; 856-874-1500. 6 p.m. today.

N J State Aquarium Delaware River between Federal St & Mickle Blvd, Camden; 800-616-5297. Hanukkah songs by children's choir from Adath Emanu-El. $13.95; $11.95 seniors, students; $10.95 ages 3-11; free under 2. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. next Sunday.

Temple Beth Sholom 1901 Kresson Rd, Cherry Hill; 856-751-6663. Preschool Hanukkah Party. 10 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. Monday. Breakfast & a Movie; all ages. Call for 12/25.

Gloucester County

Beth Israel Congregation 246 King St, Woodbury; 856-848-7272. Hebrew School Chanukah Party. 10 a.m. today.

Congregation B'nai Tikvah Fish Pond & Spring Lake Rds, Turnersville; 856-589-6550. Hanukkah services. 8 p.m. Friday. Family Hanukkah Program with crafts, food, performances, games. 10 a.m.-noon today.

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