JAC Chanukah: Shining a light with a shot of vodka

JAC celebrated Chanukah with latkes, vodka and good cheer at the Calgary JCC on December 24.

by David Sklar


(AJNews) – Thank you Sammy Cohen and Jule Styne so letting me edit their famous lyrics. As most of the writers of American Iconic Christmas music were Jews, I trust they would forgive me – so here goes:

“The weather outside was frightful but the latkes were so delightful… And since we had no place to go, let it glow, let it glow, let it glow! “


Well, twas the season for latkes, sufganiyot and…vodka?


As I made my way into the Calgary Paperny Family JCC on Saturday night, through the swarms of excited children, the smorgasbord of sweets struck my eyes. I may have even taken a cookie…or two. But was I at the right venue for the JAC (Jewish Adult Calgary) Vodak & Latkes Chanukah Party? Surely, these tots and tikes would not be allowed anywhere near spirits of any kind.  


Luckily, the young professional group was sectioned off in the Seniors Lounge at the back of the centre. JAC seeks to engage young professionals under 40 through a broad range of programs, opportunities and of course, parties. 


Hannah Giesinger is the Emerging Gen Coordinator for the Calgary Jewish Federation as well as a facilitator of Hillel for university students across the city.  


“Tonight’s event was a night to celebrate Chanukah. We did a latke “topping” competition and our (first prize) was a Vodka and a golden Mr. Potato Head.”  


Full disclosure: I’m on the board of JAC and was roped into being one of the Latke judges for the evening. My qualifications are, enjoying starchy food and being able to eat copious amounts in a relatively short time. Our latke criteria were presentation, originality and taste.    


According to Hannah, “These types of events are important because there is a need in the community to bring our young professionals together and have them in the same spaces. When you’re at work or going about your daily life, you’re not usually connecting with other Jewish people. JAC’s goal is to help facilitate that.”


Some participants jazzed up their latkes with hummus, red peppers, sour cream and the highly questionable addition of guacamole.   


One participant, Perri recently moved to Calgary and was looking for a way to meet other young Jews. “Everyone here is so kind, friendly and welcoming. I couldn’t ask for anymore more. It’s important to come together and meet other people with similar histories and backgrounds and we’re all so busy in our daily lives as young people. We need to find time to come together and connect.”  


Another attendee, Kayla, admitted it’s harder to find ways to connect with the community as your get older. “You become less involved even if your roots are strong, so this is a good opportunity to remind yourself why being Jewish is important”. 


What’s up next for JAC in 2023? 


“JAC went to the theatre on Jan 12th to see Fiddler on the Roof at the Jubilee. On Jan 20th, we are hosting a “Killer Shabbat!” grinned Hannah. “We are running a murder mystery Shabbat dinner (in association) with P.J. parents.” 


Should be a scream of a good time!


For more JAC information you can contact Hannah Giesinger at hgiesinger@jewishcalgary.org

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