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It was a meeting borne of sadness. In early November Beth Emet’s Rabbi Andrea London and Tim Rhoze, artistic director of Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, sat down for breakfast. The two discussed the continual coming together of the Evanston community to mourn recurring tragedies that have affected the nation. Both Rabbi London and Mr. Rhoze have been pillars in their respective Evanston communities – Rabbi London in the Jewish community and Mr. Rhoze in the Black community.

Although both have been involved with culture sharing, neither had consciously sought to bring the communities together in the act of celebration.

They decided the holiday season would be the perfect time. The goal was to do a cultural exchange centered around Beth Emet’s annual Hanukkah event and Fleetwood-Jourdain’s annual Kwanzaa celebration. “Beth Emet does a lot of exchanges with churches and mosques, but this is the first time we are doing a Kwanzaa event, which is exciting,” said Rabbi London.

“Everyone is invited to both celebrations,” said Mr. Rhoze. “This kind of sharing must be our new normal if we are to become people who actively and intentionally come together to be a true community.”

Beth Emet⁳ ⁁ Chanukah Celebration For Everyone†and Fleetwood-Jourdain⁳ ⁋wanzaa Celebration

Beth Emet’s “A Chanukah Celebration For Everyone,” will start at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and consist of a dinner, crafts and dreidel games, followed by the lighting of the first candle of the menorah, Shabbat service, and a performance from Beth Emet’s youth choir at 6:30 p.m.Fleetwood-Jourdain’s “Kwanzaa Celebration” will begin at 6 p.m. Dec. 26 and feature traditional African drumming, spoken word performed by the ETHS slam team and African-heritage inspired music. Both events seek to share the values and traditions of both communities with the City as a whole.