Chanukah Celebrations at the Yeshiva of Central Queens (YCQ) were jam-packed. Or would it be more appropriate to say jelly-filled!?
Monday kicked off with beautiful renditions of Hallel heard throughout the classrooms and in the shul. Throughout the morning, Grades 3-8 each had the opportunity to experience a Silent DJ. Students were given headphones controlled by DJ Eli Arshadnia and danced along and celebrated the miracles of Chanukah, without any music blasting through speakers. Students enjoyed witnessing the comical sight of dancing “silently” while showing off their Chanukah moves.
Meanwhile, students in Grades 1 and 2 had the chance to decorate doughnuts in the lunchroom. Students were given doughnuts and lined up to choose from the many different options to top their doughnut with, or even dip it in chocolate. Creativity was in the air as students made all sorts of delicious and unique combinations and gave their sufganiyot quite a makeover.
The celebration train was full steam ahead on Tuesday. After davening, Junior High School students began their mornings with parties with their rebbeim and morot, while Grades 1-5 witnessed a spectacular magic show from Magic Mehl. Students (and faculty) were wowed by his impressive tricks. Although they were disappointed when he was unable to make their homework disappear for the rest of the year, students were nevertheless amazed by his magic repertoire. That afternoon, Nursery, Kindergarten, and Grade 1 students decorated beautiful Chanukah-themed mugs in their classrooms, while Grades 2-5 created and devoured edible menorahs.
The activities did not slow down on Wednesday. Students in Nursery and Kindergarten enjoyed a magic show of their own from balloon magician extraordinaire Yoel Hecht. Grades 1-5 were amazed at the skills of Juggler Keith Leaf who put on quite a performance in the gym. Students from Grades 3-5 had their turn at doughnut decorating in the afternoon. Back in the Junior High, boys and girls each competed in their respective fierce (and friendly) dreidel competitions with exciting prizes. Junior High students later stared in awe as a truck filled with TVs, video game consoles, and comfy seating suddenly appeared in the YCQ yard. Students piled in as they got to choose from a staggering number of titles.
The YCQ faculty was treated to a party of their own on Wednesday afternoon. They enjoyed a dairy buffet from Bravo Pizza, dessert from Queens Pita, and a mocktail station with two mixologists. Travel toiletry bags with the YCQ logo were also distributed as gifts.
But wait, there’s more!
Thursday was yet another fun and meaningful day. Students in the three-year-old and four-year-old programs participated in a Chanukah workshop with their parents. They played Chanukah games, decorated cookies, made dreidels out of clay – for real! – and made scratch-off pictures, and sang their favorite Chanukah songs. Kindergarten students also put on spectacular Chanukah plays for their families, complete with singing, dancing, and fabulous costumes. Students in Grades 1-4 played Chanukah Bingo, while Grades 5-8 were out of the building on various chesed trips, including to help Chai Lifeline, Masbia, and Tomchei Shabbos.
The week wrapped up with a Chanukah chagigah featuring Azamra DJ on Friday. Nursery to Grade Five students had a blast belting their favorite tunes and lighting up the dance floor.
The success of the week is due to the Maccabean efforts of Mrs. Shirly Pourad-Kaikov, Mr. Jacob Grossman, and the many other YCQ staff members who worked tirelessly to ensure students had a Chanukah they will never forget.