To mark Chanukah, the religious school at Congregation Beth Hatikvah in Summit held a drive-in celebration of the way the holidays activate each of the five senses. Families decorated their cars and carhops delivered materials for each activity.
The “5 Senses of Judaism” is a series of interactive programs that educate and engage families with very young children and encourage further exploration of Judaism. Each session is focused on one holiday and theme. Each session includes five different activity stations. This child-led program allows families to explore Judaism in an experiential setting and learn about Jewish traditions and customs. The goal of the program is to foster a strong sense of Jewish identity through meaningful connections and to facilitate, encourage, and support a family’s Jewish journey.
For Chanukah, the program was adapted to accommodate covid-mandated social distancing.
Families stayed in their cars and the carhops brought each sensory experience to them. The activities emphasized each sense, one after the other.
For touch, there was candle making. Sheets of colored beeswax and wicks were delivered to each car and families were taught how to roll their own candles.
For hearing, as people sang Chanukah songs from their cars, sanitized tambourines were distributed, and the adult in the driver’s seat honked each car’s horn. For smell, children were given different jellies; they also were given donuts and then asked to close their eyes and guess what be inside. For vision, there was Chanukah bingo. For taste, families were given the chance to vote for their favorite as they tested two different kinds of chocolate gelt.
Families also were given DIY menorah kits. Each kit contained upcycled materials that would create a menorah — a base, nine objects to hold their candles, and nine hex nuts to hold the candles in place.