Har Shalom takes Chanukah outdoors

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Sadie and Chana Cohen pose with Rabbi Adam Raskin and Carly Litwok at Fallsmead Elementary School Photos by Samantha Cooper

A crowd of families stood waiting in the dark outside Beverly Farms Elementary School in Potomac when a U-Haul pickup truck pulled in.

It carried a giant menorah and an unlikely looking passenger: Rabbi Adam Raskin of Congregation Har Shalom, dressed in a suit emblazoned with menorot and Stars of David like some cosplaying
Chanukah superhero.

Dec. 6 was the Conservative synagogue’s first traveling Chanukah lighting — five stops in two hours.

At Beverly Farms Elementary, Raskin danced to “I Have a Little Dreidel,” Carly Litwok, Har Shalom’s assistant executive director, dressed as a dreidel and handed out doughnuts.Litwok, Hazzan Henrique Ozur Bass and Beth Hoch, the director of early childhood education, arrived in their own cars.

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“We wanted to do something that was different and bring the celebration out of the synagogue,” Raskin said.

A little girl wearing a plastic tiara ran around. Another with red hair jumped excitedly. Others stood beside their parents and watched the candles or danced with the rabbi.

Marion Mishkin brought her children, Sam and Devin. “We were so happy to share Chanukah with our neighbors and our synagogue,” she said.

At Fallsmead Elementary School, Josh and Sheryl Stevens watched the candle lighting with their daughters, Izzy and Sadie. The family lives across the street from the school and Josh and Sheryl pulled the girls over in a wagon.

Honey Cohen had bought her daughters, Sadie and Chana. “It was perfect,” she said.

And then the caravan was gone, heading to the next stop. Families quickly returned to their cars. Many still had to light their own candles, give out gifts and get their children ready for bed. After all, it was a school night.

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