Celebrate Hanukkah at community party 

The Hanukkah Party, open to all, takes place on Sunday, Dec. 2 at the Whistler Public Library

click to enlarge WWW.SHUTTERSTOCK.COM - happy Hanukkah The Hanukkah Party is set to take place at the Whistler Public Library on Dec. 2.
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  • happy Hanukkah The Hanukkah Party is set to take place at the Whistler Public Library on Dec. 2.

Calling all locals with an interest in Hanukkah: this year, Whistler is hosting a community event to celebrate the Jewish holiday.

Local DJ and children's performer Ira Pettle has teamed up with the Whistler Public Library for the holiday, which starts on Sunday, Dec. 2 and runs until Monday, Dec. 10.

"Up until five years ago, I was one of those people that wasn't forthright about my cultural background," Pettle says. "A couple of years ago I had a bit of a spiritual reawakening. I rediscovered the positive connection, and it became something I wanted to celebrate and share."

The Hanukkah Party is set to take place on Sunday, Dec. 2 from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m.—for all ages—with songs, games, stories and refreshments.

While everyone is encouraged to attend, Pettle says he hopes to connect with Whistler's Jewish population as well.

"Jewish people (make up) a small percentage of any population," he says. "I personally know under 20 people who are Jewish in this town—when I say Jewish, I mean Jew-ish. They're not super practicing. Like me, we're more secular, observe here and there, but there's that cultural connection you can't escape."

Pettle envisions the event as offering both an opportunity for that community to connect and for the wider community to experience an overview of the holiday. To that end, it will include the story of Hanukkah—"perhaps theatrically"—as well as a video or two, lots of food and a dreidel tournament with chocolate coins up for grabs.

"We play this dreidel game where, depending on which side it lands on, you win or lose coins," Pettle says. "I was raised secular, non-religious, so Hanukkah would be the family getting together, eating latke, spinning the dreidel. It's tradition you'd get a present each night of Hanukkah—all eight nights—but I'd get $20 from my dad. It's like Christmas; everyone celebrates it differently."

Pettle is also hoping that Jewish attendees will bring their menorahs to light together. "What I'm calling out for is the Jewish people (in Whistler to come out)," he says. "It's a great opportunity for us to get together. And, for the community at large, it's an invitation to get cool insight into this part of a culture."

The event is a long time coming for Pettle, who has been on the look out for some type of Jewish gathering since he first arrived in Whistler.

"The first place I was directed to when I arrived was to the Pique. I started reading the newspaper and in the newspaper were all these Christian, Catholic organization doing things," he said. "I was like, 'Where are the Jews here?' For the last 10 years, it's been this dream of mine to create an opportunity to get the Jewish people organized and together."

The Hanukkah Party takes place at the Whistler Public Library on Dec. 2 from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m.

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