CROWN HEIGHTS [CHI] — A dazzling display of illusions highlighted Nightlife’s Chanukah event on the third night of Chanukah where Marc’s side-splitting performance included mind reading, bending silverware and controlling time on a watch. For many young ladies living in, or visiting Crown Heights, Nightlife is an oasis in time where all the pressures, struggles and even boredom are checked at the door. Forget about schoolwork or dealing with problems. Nightlife is the place to relax. Or learn. Or talk. Or play games. Or dance. Or get inspired. Or sing. Or meet people.
“After classes girls just sit around in their rooms, waiting for time to pass until they go to sleep,” said one young lady who made the trip from outside Crown Heights. “Nightlife is the perfect way to get out and do something.”
If girls were looking for “something to do”, they certainly got their fill. Attendees couldn’t stop laughing during the Illusionist’s show as he cracked jokes and staged incredible illusions. He brought in lots of Jewish spice, like when he “leined” a random parsha “through the eyes” of a participant who picked it at random. He made money and other things disappear and reappear. He bent and melted spoons using “Telekinesis”. He even did some very comical impressions.
Though Nightlife is constantly evolving and participants can continuously count on new and interesting developments, from décor to programming – the warmth is always the first thing that greets you at the door. Needless to say, the array of programs is not merely to entertain; each event educates and helps balance the future of our community.
This event was complete with the lighting of a menorah by Rabbi Gansburg and a Dvar Torah by Sarochel Davidson about the importance of kabbolas ol. One of the primary issues the Assyrian Greeks had with the Chashmonaim in the story of Chanukah was the commitment to doing Hashem’s commandments, regardless of whether it is understood or not. The Greeks couldn’t fathom how a Jew can abide by all kinds of rules just because Hashem says so. This lesson of Chanukah is underscored by the irrational bravery of the Maccabim who stood up and set an example for the generations following them. The Chanukah celebrations of Jews around the world remind us of our similar dedication to fulfilling the will of Hashem unconditionally.
The grand Chanukah party also featured a dreidel game with a special twist that turned into a farbrengen as heartfelt brachos were exchanged. Meanwhile, some girls danced to lively music. Some girls sang. Others lounged on the cozy couches conversing with friends or watching the tiny flames of the menorah in their battle to light up the darkness.
It was a memorable evening, thanks to the uber-gracious hosting of Mrs. Faygy Rubashkin and her family. The event started at 7:30 and lasted until way past midnight. With the help of Nightlife organizers and volunteers the lounge was festive and stylishly decked in Chanukah decorations, tables loaded with an overflowing, delectable dairy buffet and Chanukah treats.
“What a great space,” remarked one girl. “I am amazed at how comfortable the lounge is, even for newcomers. It has such a warm ambience.” Indeed there were many girls there, including lots of new faces. Nightlife is unique in that it attracts all kinds of people, ranging from super chassidish to those just beginning their spiritual journey, as well as all the shades in between. You really can’t put a label on the type of people who come.
“I came here to meet a friend,” said one, her eyes betraying her surprise at how much she enjoyed being there. “But this definitely exceeds my expectations. Everyone’s so welcoming and you don’t have to put up any shows.”
For some young ladies who have been with Nightlife from the beginning, or for those who have been hearing about it all along, the success of the evening is no surprise. They just wish they could come more often.
“After Tishrei I couldn’t wait for the program to start again,” admits a girl who had been eagerly checking her e-mailbox for the next invitation. “I’ve been looking forward to this because I love being here. It’s great to get together with friends and have a space to just chill.”
Another young lady sees Nightlife as a place to re-center herself. “When I was in high school there were built-in reminders of all the special days on the calendar. Now I have to really make an effort to make the day out of the ordinary. So I come here and get inspired.” A plethora of other girls agree that Nightlife is what keeps them connected.
The benefits the girls receive from coming to Nightlife feed right into the communities they so lovingly serve as Shluchos, teachers and future mothers. Nightlife is a wellspring where participants who spend an evening at the lounge wake up the next morning nourished spiritually, emotionally and physically, ready to take on the challenges of the day with just a little more pizzazz.