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JRC’s House Klezmer Band Helps Kickoff High-Energy Chanukah Celebrations, Welcoming the Wider Community

December 16, 2022 @ 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

JRC’s House Klezmer Band Helps Kickoff High-Energy Chanukah Celebrations, Welcoming the Wider Community

(Evanston, IL) Many synagogues hire Klezmer bands to augment their holiday music. In typical trend-setting fashion, the members of JRC came together to form their own in 1989. JRC invites the community to join a lively and participatory Kabbalat Shabbat Service and Chanukah celebration featuring Heavy Shtetl performing long-time favorites like “Oh Chanukah” and “Ocho Kanelikas” (8 Little Candles), and even a few originals written by members of the congregation. “Klezmer is joyful music, and it just gets everyone into a happy mood!” says JRC member and Heavy Shtetl Band Director, Lori Lippitz. Lori’s lengthy resume includes Founder and Musical Director of the highly acclaimed Maxwell Street Klezmer Band which played at Carnegie Hall, toured Europe and put out 5 commercial CDs.

JRC’s house band is comprised of synagogue members and volunteer musicians who showcase their talents on clarinet, violin, trumpet, trombone, keyboard, banjo, bass and drums. The result is a lively experience that persuades multi-generations to pop out of their seats, dance, and sing along. “One of our favorite things is when the little kids get out onto the floor and “spin” each other for “I Have a Little Dreydl.” says Lori. The festivities at JRC will also include a special performance by JRC’s Junior Choir. To refuel at the end of the evening, Sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) will be provided to-go.


JRC invites the wider community to join the dancing, singing, laughter, and spiritual examination of the holiday, focusing not only on the miracle of oil lasting 8 nights, but also on the beauty of community coming together to make sure the lamp was lit in the first place. The entire ritual will be livestreamed on JRC’s Facebook page.

Need a little context about why Jews eat foods fried in oil on Chanukah or want to dive deeper and learn about the Maccabees and Judith? American Chanukah focuses on candles and gifts, yet many of these traditions came to be because of the holiday’s proximity to Christmas. JRC’s Rabbi Rachel Wise will lead a Chanukah discussion for adults from a Reconstructionist perspective titled “Chanukah for Grownups: Beyond Gifts and Gelt” on Tuesday, December 20 at JRC beginning at 7pm. 

Details for JRC’s Chanukah programming can be found at JRCtogether.org/about-us/calendar/. Both events are open to the public. All are welcome. 

About JRC – Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation:  

JRC is a diverse, participatory, and sacred community dedicated to a daring, deeply-rooted Judaism. Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation is known for its cutting-edge approach to creating Jewish Community. Our congregation is imbued with joyful spirituality, intellectual curiosity, inclusivity, and deep commitment to social justice. The heart of JRC is our diverse group of members, who find connection and meaning in our rituals, services, vast Jewish learning experiences, community events, and abounding opportunities to make lifelong friends. For more information, please visit our website at jrctogether.org. For information on becoming a member of the congregation or if you need any accommodations to participate, email JRC’s Executive Director, Micky Baer at mbaer@jrctogether.org.

JRC’s House Band, Heavy Shtetl was formed in 1989 by Band Leader, Lori Lippitz. They will perform at JRC’s lively and participatory Chanukah Shabbat service on Friday, December 16.


Rabbi Rachel Wise enjoys a perfectly crisp, gluten-free potato latke made by member, Michael Bloom at JRC’s annual LatkeFest. Each year, Bloom coordinates a culinary team of congregants to fry up hundreds of homemade potato latkes, feeding the entire student body of JRC’s Kehillah (religious school).



December 16, 2022
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
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Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation – JRC
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Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation – JRC
303 Dodge Avenue
Evanston, Illinois 60202 United States
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