‘Gelt Drop” highlights Hanukkah festivities at Chabad Jewish Center of Naperville

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On Sunday afternoon, the Chabad Jewish Center of Naperville once again brought its Hannukah celebration to new heights.

For several years now, the center has organized a ‘Gelt Drop’ by helicopter. The popular tradition sees chocolate coins released into an open field. Once all the pieces hit the ground, kids race to collect them.

Celebrating the ‘next generation’ of Judaism

According to Rabbi Mendy Goldstein, getting young people excited about their faith is part of what makes the ‘Gelt Drop’ so special.

“They are the future of Judaism, and we want to instill in them a Jewish pride. Giving them the knowledge, but more in a fun way,” Goldstein said. “They should have positive memories associated with Judaism.”

The center also offered several other activities aimed at making the day memorable for kids, including a station where they could create their own candy menorahs and another where they could craft a dreidel.

“We want to highlight the fun part of it, the exciting part of it, that these children can be excited about their heritage,” said Goldstein.

Festival of Lights celebrated with traditions

In addition to all the family fun, Sunday’s event also included traditional Hanukkah food, the lighting of the menorah, and Jewish prayers.

The celebration comes in the wake of the ongoing war in Israel as well as some recent antisemitism across the globe. Despite all of that, Rabbi Goldstein believes the holidays are an opportunity for people from his faith to stand together.

“We see, unfortunately, what’s going on around the world, on social media, on college campuses, that this is a war on the existence of the Jewish people. I want to give a little bit of hope and light to the Jewish people that are out there, to know that the Jewish people are alive,” said Goldstein. “We’re not going anywhere. We’ve been around for thousands of years. We’ve got to stay strong.”

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