The night begins with a traditional latke dinner at 6 p.m.
“It’s on a Friday and we didn’t feel people could come home and cook, so we are providing the latkes here,” she says.
Side dishes are suggested, however, for the potluck event.
A community menorah lighting follows, then the children and adults separate for different programming. The adult service will be led by CBH Rabbi Joshua Lesser.
Closing the night will be a serving of donuts and a game of Texas Hold ‘em Dreidel. The dreidel – a spinning top with Hebrew letters on all sides – is normally used as a children’s game, but Robertson promises a version for everyone, not just the kids.
This year’s “Festival of Lights” theme is diversity.
“Diversity is the origin of Hanukkah,” she says. “There has been a lot of religious intolerance both within and outside the Jewish community. We are trying to focus on the celebration of diversity.”
Bet Haverim was founded by gays and lesbians as a place where Jews can be themselves and bring their entire family. Robertson is a longtime member of the Bet Haverim and has been on staff now for five years.
The congregation is roughly half LGBT members and half LGBT allies, she says. Robertson expects approximately 200 at the holiday event.
Top photo: Rabbi Joshua Lesser will lead Hanukkah services at LGBT-founded Congregation Bet Haverim. (File photo)