Friday Q&A Kim Harbour
The Jewish commemoration of Hanukkah, or “Festival of Lights,” begins this evening at sundown and continues for eight days. We caught up with Kim Harbour of Glenwood Springs, who is part of the Valley Havurah Jewish group locally, to tell us about the festival.How long have you lived in Glenwood Springs?Six years. My husband and I met in Breckenridge, and moved around for about 10 years before resettling in Glenwood. We chose Glenwood because his sister lives here with her children.Tell us about your family?I have three girls. Emma will be 10, Zoe will be 8, and Skyler is turning 5 next week during Hanukkah.In your words, what is Hanukkah all about?Hanukkah is a historical holiday that commemorates the Macabee army defeating the Syrian army. The Jews were not allowed to practice their religion. After the battle, in which they were incredibly outnumbered, the temple was restored and there was only enough oil to light the eternal candle for one night. Miraculously, the candle stayed lit for eight days, long enough to make more.For me, Hanukkah is about having warmth and light (and hope) on the darkest days of winter. It is a beautiful and meaningful time, lighting the menorah every night for eight nights. We sing songs, eat potato latkes and play dreidel, a spinning top with Hebrew letters on four sides, Nes Gadol Hayad Shem (A great miracle happened there). Where did you grow up?ConnecticutWas your family active in the Jewish congregation?Yes, still are. My parents are active members of our synagogue, as were their parents.What are some of your favorite family memories around the holiday?Lighting the menorah and getting together with family. We always had lots of cousins around and we would play while the adults cooked, and inevitably pulled out some household appliance to fix. What is your favorite Hanukkah tradition?Having friends over to light candles and play dreidel and eat latkes. We try to attend the Chanukah on Ice celebration in Aspen with the Chabad. Lighting the menorah that my grandfather made has always been special. It is electric and is almost 5 feet tall. Instead of lighting candles, we screw the bulbs in. My favorite menorah to light is one I made. It is simple and involves shells from various beaches we have visited and tea light candles. My daughters will each have their own menorahs to light this year. They are gifts from my parents when they went to Israel this fall.While growing up, how did you explain Hanukkah, and the fact that you didn’t celebrate Christmas, to your non-Jewish friends?I always celebrated with friends. I remember going to my friend’s house who lived next door and helped decorate their tree. How does your family today celebrate Hanukkah and other Jewish holidays?There are new things my girls and I have done, like found all sorts of great Hanukkah songs on iTunes, thanks to Adam Sandler paving the way. Barenaked Ladies has a couple of ballads that are beautiful. We don’t have any family here that is Jewish, so we try to include friends as much as possible and share our traditions and customs. I always go to my children’s classes at Sopris Elementary and read stories about Hanukkah, and explain all the activities and goings-on. We also celebrate Christmas with my sister-in-law and my brother.How long has Valley Havurah been in existence, and what is its purpose?It started in New Castle seven or eight years ago. Havurah means friends. We were just a bunch of Jewish families getting together to celebrate Shabbat once a month. There are so many wonderful traditions and customs that we are learning about through our friends, and my children have now attended religious classes through the Aspen Chabad every week.How can people who are interested in joining the group find out more about it?Call the number in the paper.
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