Jewish Family Service of San Diego
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Supporting Jewish Single Parents
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A Message from Stephanie

Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving creating memories and traditions for years to come. We are looking forward to joining Jewish BIGPals later this month for our 3rd Annual Hanukkah Celebration. The day will be full of fun activities, treats, and a chance to connect with other single parent families within our wonderful community! Please see below for more information.

Stephanie Rogart, Supporting Jewish Single Parents Coordinator

SJSP's 5th Annual Family Camp Weekend

The planning of SJSP’s 5th Annual Family Camp Weekend is underway!  The retreat will be held Friday, May 4 through Sunday, May 6, 2012 at Camp Mountain Chai in the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains. We had such a fabulous time last year and are planning another very memorable weekend for this year. Please mark your calendars!

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The Story of Hanukkah

HanukkahWhen Hanukkah approaches, we tend to think of the smell of hot potato latkes, the glow of the candles in the menorah, and the warm feeling of being with friends and family. Yet all of these yearly traditions date back thousands of years with the story of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah, also known as "The Festival of Lights", is an eight-day celebration commemorating the victory of the Maccabees over the mighty armies of the Syrian King Antiochus. After the Maccabees restored the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, they found one jug of pure oil, enough to keep the menorah (an eight-branched candelabrum) burning for just one day.  But through the miracle of Hanukkah, the oil that was supposed to only last for one night ended up burning for eight nights!

On each night of the holiday an additional candle is added to the menorah and is then lit with the Shamash (the helper candle that sits higher on the menorah than the others). Candles are placed into the menorah in a right to left direction but are lighted left to right. This tradition indicates that G-d’s presence is everywhere. On Hanukkah, it is traditional for families to eat foods fried in oil such as latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), exchange gifts, and play the dreidel game. Please see below to learn how to make some fun Hannukah crafts with your child(ren)!

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Hanukkah Crafts for Kids 

Whether you are entertaining guests at your home or looking for ideas to add meaningful fun to your Hanukkah celebration, try these Hanukkah crafts.

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The Dreidel Game

Dreidel GameOn Hanukkah it is customary for many children to play the dreidel game after lighting the menorah. The Dreidel, a four-sided spinning top, contains the Hebrew letters Nun, Gimel, Hey, and Shin. Together, these four Hebrew letters mean, “a great miracle happened here”. Each player starts out with 10 or 15 coins (real or made of chocolate), nuts, raisins, candies, or other markers, and places one marker in the "pot.” The first player spins the dreidel and depending on which side the dreidel falls on, that person either wins a marker from the pot or gives up part of his winnings.

The actions are as follows:

  • Nun - "nothing" - nothing happens and the next player spins
  • Gimel - "all" - the player takes the entire pot
  • Hey - "half" - the player takes half of the pot, rounding up if there is an odd number
  • Shin - "put in" - the player puts one marker in the pot

When one person wins everything in the pot, the game is finished!

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Upcoming SJSP Events 

SJSP Discussion/Networking Group
Thursday, December 1 • 6:00–7:30pm
JFS–Turk Family Center
Meet with other Jewish single parents encountering the issues, challenges, and triumphs of raising a child on their own. Newcomers welcome! A light dinner is provided and childcare is available for $5 per child. Space is limited. To RSVP and/or for more information, contact Andrew Hoffman, SJSP Administrative Assistant, at or at (858) 637-3067.

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Lights, Latkes & Laughter

Lights, Latkes & Laughter

SJSP/Jewish BIGPals 3rd Annual Hanukkah Celebration
Sunday, December 18 • 2:00–4:00pm
Congregation Beth Israel
9001 Town Center Dr. • San Diego 92122

Please join SJSP and Jewish BIGPals for Lights, Latkes & Laughter at our 3rd Annual Hanukkah celebration! We hope you will join us for a wonderful afternoon filled with delicious latkes and desserts, as well as fun activities and a few surprises! Many SJSP families have a BIGPal for their son or daughter and this is a great opportunity to celebrate together.

Admission is $5 per adult/child. No charge for BIGPals (they will be guests at the event). Payment and RSVP must be made no later than Monday, December 5. Financial assistance is available. To RSVP and/or for more information, contact Andrew Hoffman, SJSP Administrative Assistant, at or at (858) 637-3067.

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Supporting Jewish Single Parents

In This Issue

Family Camp Weekend
Story of Hanukkah
Hanukkah Crafts
Dreidel Game
Upcoming SJSP Events
Lights, Latkes & Laughter
North County Jewish Community
Jewish BIGPals
Jewish Community Events
Ongoing Jewish Community Events
General Community Events
Outdoor Community Events
Cooking with Your Children

The Supporting Jewish Single Parents program actively welcomes and connects Jewish single parents and their children within the Jewish community. Through information and referral, networking, support and advocacy, the program helps promote Jewish continuity and offers services that enhance a feeling of belonging and inclusion. 

Stephanie Rogart
Program Coordinator 

(858) 637-3080   

SJSP website>>


SJSP works in cooperation with the community to advocate for the needs of Jewish Single Parents. This includes reduced dues for synagogue membership or scholarships for camp or school. 

Discussion/Networking Group
Discussion/Networking group meets monthly at the Lawrence Family JCC. Topics include: shared custody, solo custody, positive parenting, raising a child in a Jewish household, activities for single parent families, and more.

SJSP provides assistance in connecting with consumer services, housing assistance, childcare resources, and more.

SJSP Website
Highlights community events and information pertaining to life as a single parent. Click here to view SJSP website.

Case Management
A case manager is on staff at Jewish Family Service solely to provide Jewish Single Parents with assistance and support.

Social/Educational Programming
SJSP provides monthly educational and social/spiritual events. Educational events will often include a guest speaker presenting topics of interest to Jewish single parents. Social/spiritual events will be offered to provide Jewish single parent families with an opportunity to build community and enhance their support systems by interacting with one another and their children.


  • Local Synagogue Information
  • Candle Lighting Times
  • Career Information
  • Child Support Services

North County Jewish Community - JFS Has Programs for You!

HanukkahFeeling At Home With Hanukkah:
A Workshop for Interfaith Couples, Families and You!
Thursday, December 15 • 6:00−7:30pm
Encinitas Community Center • 1140 Oakcrest Park Drive • Encinitas 92024

Have you ever wondered how to create meaningful Hanukkah traditions for yourself and your family? Join this interactive workshop facilitated by Rabbi Aliza Berk, LMFT, to feel more at home with Hanukkah. This one-time interactive session will prepare individuals, couples, and families to celebrate Hanukkah in an enjoyable, meaningful way. Participants will explore the origins of the holiday and its universal themes, learn how to light the menorah, and discover the joys of Hanukkah’s culinary delights.

Childcare will be provided with separate children’s activities, including “Giving the Dreidel a Spin”, a Hanukkah sing-along, and a Hanukkah craft project. Tastes of Hanukkah will be provided to all!
This is a FREE event! • Registration is required. Register online or call (858) 637-3395.

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Jewish BIGPals

BIGPals Gabi and Leah MoreChildhood can be a time of many challenges and a Big Pal is a special friend, role model, and confidant who helps a child by forming a lasting and supportive relationship. Children age 6-16 years old from a single parent family in need of an additional adult role model are eligible. Big Pals may be male or female, age 19 and up. Big Pals are carefully screened and each match is carefully supervised. Big and Little Pals meet two times each month to participate in recreational, educational, or community activities they both enjoy. We match each child to the adult who can best meet the child’s individual needs. Our goal is to provide a Jewish Big Pal for every Jewish child in need of one. If you are interested in learning more about the Jewish BIGPals program contact Lindsey Jordan at (858) 637-3090 or

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Jewish Community Events

Hanukkah Boutique
Sunday, December 48:30am–2:00pm
Congregation Beth Am
The Jewish Learning Center at Congregation Beth Am will be hosting a Hanukkah Fundraiser. If you still need Hanukkah gifts this will be the perfect opportunity to purchase Judaica, fine jewelry, clothing, active wear, handbags, candles, plants, and much more. The fundraiser will also feature a game truck, pizza, and a raffle. For more information, call (858) 481-8454 or visit the above link.

Preschool Sunday Mornings–Hanukkah
Sunday, December 4 • 9:3010:30am
Temple Emanu-El
Preschool Sunday Mornings is for parents with children ages 2 to pre-kindergarten and is open to members and non-members at no charge. In December, everyone in attendance will learn about the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah. The one-hour class will feature lessons, art projects, and singing. For more information, call (619) 286-3096 or visit the above link.

28th Annual Hanukkah Happening
Sunday, December 1111:00am2:00pm
Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, Jacobs Family Campus
Join the Lawrence Family JCC for a community-wide celebration of Hanukkah. This all-ages event will feature carnival games, art projects, a bouncy house, a silent auction, and much more! Hanukkah Happening is open to the community and costs $2 for JCC members and $3 for non-members. For more information, visit the above link.

Hanukkah Party
Saturday, December 1710:30am2:30pm
Kahal Am
Kahal Am will be having a Hanukkah party at the Encinitas Community Center. The event is open to the community and guests should expect an assortment of good food, fun, and entertainment. A potato latke contest also highlights the afternoon. For more information, call (858) 549-3088 or visit the above link.  

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Ongoing Jewish Community Events

Jewish Singles Shabbat
Temple Adat Shalom
2nd Friday of each month • 7:00pm

Temple Adat Shalom invites Jewish singles of all ages to join in Shabbat services every 2nd Friday of the month. Join Temple Adat Shalom afterwards for an Oneg, schmoozing and an opportunity to make new friends. For more information, contact Carol Gendel at or by calling (858) 521-9009.

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General Community Events

Ice Skating by the Sea
Ongoing through December2:00–5:00pm & 6:009:00pm
Enjoy outdoor ice skating at Coronado beach, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Tickets cost $20 for adults and $15 for kids for three-hour sessions, and $15 adults and $10 for kids for two-hour matinees. Hot chocolate and holiday drinks make this a festive San Diego winter time activity. For more information, visit the above link. 

SDSU Men’s Basketball vs. UC Berkeley
Sunday, December 4 • 2:00pm
The SDSU Aztecs are coming off one of the best men’s basketball seasons in team history. Now is your chance to catch the 2011 Aztecs team in action when they face the University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears. Tickets for this exciting college basketball game will go rapidly. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the above link.

Garden of Lights
December 826 & December 26315:009:00pm
The San Diego Botanic Gardens (formerly Quail Botanic Gardens) will transform into a winter wonderland in December. Dazzling light displays, holiday crafts, horse-drawn wagon rides, a campfire with smores, and much more will all be featured at the Garden of Lights. Tickets cost $12 for adults, $4 for children (ages 3-12) and children under 2 are free. For more information, visit the above link.

Poinsettia Bowl Gaslamp March
Monday, December 196:00pm
The Gaslamp Quarter Association is proud to host the annual Poinsettia Bowl Gaslamp March! The marching bands from each of the competing schools in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl face off in a musical showdown on Fifth Avenue just two days prior to the big game at Qualcomm Stadium. This thrilling battle of the bands will have you captivated, so be sure to arrive early to claim your spot on Fifth Avenue. For more information, call (619) 233-5227 or visit the above link.

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Outdoor Community Events

Guided Bird Walk
Saturday, December 17 • 8:00–10:00am

Join resident Birder, Jeanne Raimond, on the 3rd Saturday of each month for an adventure in Bird Watching! This will be a great opportunity to see birds that are unique to San Diego. If you have binoculars and/or a field guide, please bring them along. December’s walk will meet at Lake Murray in the parking lot off of Kiowa Drive. For more information, visit the above link.

Star Party
Saturday, December 17 5:008:00pm
Join Mission Trails Regional Park Trail Guide and resident Star-Gazer, George Varga, at the far end of the Kumeyaay Campground's Day Use Parking Lot. A telescope will be available to view the nighttime sky! See the moon as it will be two days past being full. The Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and its companion M32 are well in position for viewing. In consideration of others, no lanterns or white-light flashlights near the telescope, please. For more information, visit the above link.

Mission Trails Regional Park
Weekly Guided Nature Walks
Saturdays each month • 9:30am

Join a Mission Trail Regional Park Trail Guide on a free guided nature walk from the Visitor Center and learn about the history, geology, plants, animals and ecology of the park. Trail Guides choose from three trails: The Oak Grove Trail, the Visitor Center Loop Trail, or the Riverside Grinding Rocks Trail. Walks may also include the Native Plant Garden near the Visitor Center. Guided walks are free, open to the public with no reservations required, and will accommodate the physical or special needs of the group. Please remember to wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes and bring along water, a hat, and sunscreen. Please keep in mind Mission Trails will cancel a walk if it is raining. For more information, visit the above link.  

San Elijo Lagoon
Free Guided Nature Walk
Saturdays of each month • 10:00am
2710 Manchester Avenue • Cardiff by the Sea 92007

Every Saturday, the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy offers a free guided nature walk with a trained naturalist starting at the nature center. Families will get the opportunity to learn about the flora, fauna and history of San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. For more information, call (760) 436-3944 or visit the above link.

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Cooking With Your Children

Potato latkesPotato Latkes
It is customary that we eat foods fried in oil on Hanukkah. This classic potato latke recipe is one that the entire family can enjoy. Serve them with applesauce, sour cream, chopped green onions, or other condiments.


  • 2 cups peeled and shredded potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup oil for frying


  • After peeling and shredding the potatoes, place them into a large mixing bowl.
  • Drain as much excess water out of the bowl as possible.
  • Add the onion, flour, salt, and eggs into the bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until hot.
  • Place large spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the hot oil, pressing down on them to form ¼ to ½ inch thick latke patties.
  • Let latke patties brown on one side and then flip them over in the oil to brown on the other side.
  • Take each latke out of the pan and let excess oil drain on a paper towel.


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