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Chanu-con coming to Congregation Beth Shalom December 4 to celebrate Chanukah

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Sevivon sov, sov, sov, Chanukah, hu chag tov.

These may not be the lyrics to a Christmas carol, but they are the lyrics to a song that celebrates a December holiday that comes around every year … Chanukah. This year you may very well hear that song, along with many others, at Chanu-Con.

It’s free to attend and takes place at Congregation Beth Shalom, 14601 W. Lincoln Rd. in Oak Park on Dec. 4 from 1-5 p.m. It is the brain child of Beth Rodgers, who wanted to give her Jewish holiday more voice in the holiday conversation.  She also wanted to open the experience to more people.

The name Chanu-Con came from Comic Con (whose founder, Shel Dorfman, was from Detroit), which lent inspiration due to the wide variety of station, vendors and events that it wishes to emulate.

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“Chanu-Con is a great way to spend a Sunday,” Rogers says. “It is a Chanukah festival that has a little bit of everything for everyone. You can shop, take part in activities, enter to win some fabulous prizes and eat some great food.”

The food will be available from caterers and shops that will be offer samples in the Con itself. The big food item though is a food truck. It will take a departure from the usual food truck fare of burgers, hot dogs, nachos and the like, and instead will serve shawarma, falafel, and other Middle Eastern foods. The food is by Chef Cari, Bloom’s Kosher and Jewel Kosher Catering. All food is kosher.

In keeping with the season of giving, there will also be a food bank onsite to help provide for the less fortunate for the holidays.

Rodgers started looking for support for her venture in Oak Park, where the new Con takes place. The first supporters were the Oak Park Library and the PJ Library through the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.  The PJ Library is an organization that provides a book a month to kids, mostly on Jewish subjects.

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From that initial support came donations from plenty of others, most of which were for the tin can auction. For those not in the know, a tin can auction is like a raffle but you only go into the drawing for the items you want.  There are currently more than 50  prizes, including eight pairs of tickets for shows at the Farmington Theater and a hockey puck signed by Red Wing Tomas Tatar.

Other tin can auction prize donors include:

  • Men’s Wearhouse
  • Astrein’s Creative Jewelers
  • Yellow Door Art Market
  • Aveda – Royal Oak
  • Farmington Civic Theater
  • Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle
  • Market Fresh
  • The Robot Garage
  • Detroit Opera House
  • Detroit Kid City
  • Berman Center for the Performing Arts
  • Feet on the Street Tours
  • Warp 9 Comics
  • Detroit Zoo
  • Books by Local Authors
  • and more

Of course, there will also be conventional sales taking place where you can find Chanukah gifts (or gifts for any other purpose) for sale like books, jewelry, bath supplies, clothing, games and more. The vendors are:

  • Arbonne, Mushky Junik-Polter (health and beauty products)
  • Beautiful Beginnings Baby Boutique (baby clothes, books, and games)
  • Bloom’s Kosher Carryout and Catering
  • Brenda Efros, Beading (beaded jewelry)
  • Chef Cari’s Spot Food Truck
  • ClothesFit (jeans, vests, jewelry, children’s clothes, leather gloves, winter ski clothes, hats)
  • Deborah Hecht Studio (tiles, art, gift items, vintage items)
  • Designs by Rifcah (jewelry and Chanukah gifts)
  • Discovery Toys, Shira Weininger (educational, high quality toys, games, books, and CDs)
  • Elki Kagan, Chocolates (Chanukah chocolates and chocolate-topped cupcakes)
  • Howard Fridson, Books (children’s illustrated books)
  • Jamberry, Baila Sigler (nail wraps)
  • Jewel Kosher Catering
  • More of Me (XL to 3/4X women’s clothes and fur accessories)
  • Mushka & Pearl (homemade, organic bath essentials and Chanukah gift jars, including bath bars, bath bombs, hand scrub, lip balm – organic and vegan)
  • Origami Owl Custom Jewelry, Malcah Kriegsman (customizable jewelry, lockets, and more)
  • Our Greentopia (toys, home/kitchen/garden items, etc.)
  • Picture a Conversation (greeting cards and conversation starters)
  • Rocknbohoapparel (XS – 5X rocker and bohemian apparel and accessories)
  • Shifra’s Gallery (handmade, decorative, functional Judaic pottery)
  • Top This Boutique (unique sweaters, tops, coats, pants, dresses, and leggings)
  • Tradition! Tradition! (Judaica items)
  • Usborne Books, Baila Sigler (children’s books)

There will also be plenty to keep you occupied besides just shopping. There will be live music from Kid Klez.  This group of kids starts playing together in middle school and members go all the way up to age 19. They play klez music, a type of Jewish influenced jazz. They will take the stage at 3 p.m.

The question with such events always comes back to what to do with the kids. Well, here there are a wide variety of options. There will be crafts, a bounce house, face painting, dreidels to spin and a chance for the kids to buy Chanukah gifts themselves.

One of the events earliest supporters, the Oak Park library, will have bookmarks for them to make and will share information on its own upcoming events.

The kids will even get their own musical entertainment from Music Man Dave. He’ll play a combination of kids’ songs off his upcoming album and traditional Jewish songs.  Dave’s full name is David Rodgers, the husband of the Con’s founder. Music Man Dave is on from 1-3 p.m.

Some kids’ entertainment is free. There’s a small fee of around $1.00 for others.

The celebration of Chanukah in Detroit is more than just a menorah lighting and going to temple. The community-wide acceptance for the Chanu-Con’s inaugural event shows there is more than enough room in the city for all the holidays December can hold.

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