The community sharing of seasonal celebrations hosted by Beth Emet The Free Synagogue and Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre will begin with a virtual celebration of Chanukah at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow night, Dec. 11.

A series of virtual events to celebrate Kwanzaa will begin at noon on Dec. 26. Tim Rhoze, Artistic Director of Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre and Rabbi Andrea London, Senior Rabbi at Beth Emet, coordinate the annual collaboration.

Beth Emet is inviting Evanstonians to celebrate Chanukah via Zoom with song, prayer and “8 Nights of Light: Chanukah Story Telling,” performed by the Evanston Community Sharing Players.

“This is our third year collaborating with Fleetwood-Jourdain on a Chanukah-Kwanzaa exchange. This year is a little bit different because it will all be done virtually, but we’re really delighted to be able to do this again. It’s been fun to share celebrations together, to learn more about each other’s cultures and to come together as community for joyful celebration,” Rabbi London told the RoundTable.

“We are sad we can’t share amazing latkes and chicken soup for Chanukah, or delicious jerk chicken and peas with rice for Kwanzaa, and be together in person, but we still look forward to sharing joy and laughter together. We look forward to celebrating Chanukah and Kwanzaa 2020 with you virtually,” wrote Mr. Rhoze in a press release announcing the schedule for the festivities.

Information for the Chanukah celebration: Zoom Link for Friday Night -Ph: 312-626-6799 -Meeting ID: 853 5684 6772\ Passcode: 1224


Kwanzaa is always celebrated from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1. Chanukah begins on the 25th day of Kislev, which is the ninth month of the Jewish calendar. It lasts for eight days, and can occur from late November to late December on the secular calendar. This year, Chanukah starts on the evening of Dec. 10, and ends on the evening of Dec. 18.

Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre’s first day of Kwanzaa event will be streamed at noon on its YouTube channel and Facebook page. The celebration will include African drumming by S.O.U.L. Creations, music by Evanston’s own Anita Baker, Felicia Patton and Nuwki Nu. New to the program this year is a dynamic spoken word performance by Liana Wallace.

Gilo Kwesi Logan will usher in the holiday by explaining the seven principles and the history of Kwanzaa, and lighting the first candle on the kinara, which represents the first principle of Kwanzaa, Umoja (unity). Dr. Logan will also introduce this year’s Evanston Elder Council and present the Legacy of Cultural Excellence Award.

Miah Logan will conduct a virtual Art & Crafts segment, where she will guide children in creating their own original Kwanzaa gift. Bags with materials for the craft project can be purchased for $10 at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St. and Robert Crown Community Center, 1801 Main St.

During the following six days, from Dec. 27 to Jan. 1, the remaining principles of Kwanzaa will be recited and the corresponding candles will be lit by six different Evanston families and broadcast virtually.

Details and broadcast links are available at

Heidi Randhava

Heidi Randhava is an award winning reporter who has a deep commitment to community engagement and service. She has written for the Evanston RoundTable since 2016.