This year, Chanukah was uniquely celebrated by Released Time children, who had off from public school, due to the holiday season. Following the Rebbe’s requests, these vacation days were utilized to imbue the children with the Jewish education they may be missing throughout the year.
At Released Time day camps, students enjoyed a full day of varied activities, beginning with hands-on learning about Chanukah including acting out in a Chanukah play and attending a real olive oil press show, praying daily and practicing saying Brochos on all food and drinks, singing Jewish songs, making arts and crafts such as building their own Menorah’s and decorating doughnuts, and enjoying daily trips such as Fun Station, Ice Skating and Chanukah Wonderland!
Three day camps, totaling nearly 200 children, got together to participate in a grand rally in 770, organized by Rabbi Shimmy Weinbaum of Tzivos Hashem and Rabbi Shimon Hecht of NCFJE, uniting with hundreds of children worldwide via internet. Two Released Time children even said a Possuk.
The Queens Robinson Jewish Camp has reached a mark this year, by expanding its capacity to host more than 130 children, opening 2 additional facilities to serve this purpose.
The Released Time program would like to thank the hosts of its day camps: The United Lubavitch Yeshiva of Ocean Parkway and Ohel Moshe Chevrah Tehillim, Lubavitch. (Brooklyn). Anshe Sholom Chabad JCC, the Sephardic Jewish Congregation, Yeshiva Shaarei Zion and Yeshiva Gedola Lubavitch (Queens). Chabad Lubavitch Staten Island.
…and it’s not over.
For most staff, the end of such an activity-packed day at camp, is only the beginning of an upcoming evening, which would be spent visiting Released Time students at their homes.
Each student registered in Released Time, whether usually attending or not, receives a personal visit from his Rabbi. At the visit, which lasts anywhere between 15 minuted to several hours, the Rabbis will light Menorah with the family, offer doughnuts and dreidels, entertain the children and play with them, and even grab a schmooze with the parents about the importance of their child’s Jewish education.
Most times, these visits go a lot further than their original scope: as a result of these visits, students usually feel a lot more comfortable at Released Time and more connected to the ideas they are being taught. At many times, parents develop a personal connection with their child’s teacher, due to these visits, eventually leading to them keeping Shabbos and Koshering their home. Numerous Mezuzahs are even put up during the visit periods themselves!
This Chanunkah, over 600 children were visited in their homes, thanks to our 180 dedicated staff! Much thanks to the Released Time principals and teachers, for such a wonderful job!