Shir Ami celebrates Chanukah, gives back to community

It’s time to celebrate at Congregation Shir Ami as it continues to mark its 10th year as a Reform Jewish congregation serving Lower Fairfield and Westchester Counties with its annual Chanukah celebration.

Calling Chanukah, “a special time of celebration and giving” the congregation says it will celebrate the holiday during this milestone year with member families and guests joining together as a community for the annual Chanukah Live! Shabbat service Friday evening, Dec. 14 at First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich.

The event starts with a pot luck gourmet latke dinner and then a Shabbat service with Chanukah candle lighting and sing-along accompanied by the Shir Ami Rockin’ Band and Choirs.

“Shir Ami is also maintaining its tradition to devote this Season of Light to community service in keeping with the Chanukah lesson of rededication to make the world a better place,” a temple press release said. “Each year Shir Ami joins with the Junior League of Northern Westchester in its Holiday Sharing Drive, an annual effort to sponsor needy families with food, clothing, and gifts for the holidays. Many Shir Ami families participate, with the Shir Ami Teens and their parent advisors Cathy Blood and Kathleen Weitz sponsoring a family as a group.”

Additionally, Shir Ami has launched the Abilis Holiday Giving Project. Abilis offers employment services for adults with developmental disabilities and support for individuals living in more than a dozen residential group homes in Greenwich and Stamford, as well as those living more independently. In response to a wish list gathered from these very special adults, members of Shir Ami are sponsoring individuals with gifts that will “give them a lift during this holiday season.”

Shir Ami is also partnering for the third season with First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich, our hosts for year-round Shabbat services and religious school, in an Interfaith Community Holiday Blood Drive, Thursday, Dec. 27 from 1:30 to 7 p.m. “

“This time of year is always a challenge for blood banks,” said Barbara Salop, past president and Shir Ami Chair of this blood drive, “And the blood supplies are particularly low this year because of Hurricane Sandy so we are hoping for a big turn-out.”

Jenny Lake, chair of the Shir Ami Social Action Team notes that “The joy of these projects is that members of Shir Ami can be involved in performing significant acts of goodness and giving for people in need during the holiday season.”

“These acts of giving represent a core value that has been at the center of Shir Ami since we were founded ten year ago,” added Rabbi Vicki Axe. “Bringing the miracle of Chanukah to the hearts of everyone in the community during this season and all year round is really meaningful for our families.”

“The name of our Social Action Committee says it all,” added Andrew Cohen, co-president of Shir Ami. “We call our community service committee the TIKVAH Team, which is the Hebrew word for hope and an acronym for Touching Individuals with Kindness, Vision, and Hope.

For more information about Shir Ami programs and events call 203-504-2424 or visit Congregationshirami.org.

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