On Tuesday, Dec. 20, Jeffrey and Gloria Lippert’s home was in the midst of its Hanukkah splendor. Tables featured centerpiece decorations in predominantly blue and white color schemes. Electric menorahs in both the front and back windows were lit, as they are each of the eight evenings. And a long table was prepared for the treats to be served at an upcoming party.
“You do what you usually do on a holiday: be festive and eat,” Jeffrey said.
That night, just a couple blocks from their home, Jeffery once again took part in the village of Flossmoor’s public celebration of Hanukkah by lighting the candles of the community menorah at Flossmoor Park to celebrate the third night of the Jewish holiday.
“I want to thank the village of Flossmoor for making this part of the overall holiday season, including Kwanzaa and Hanukkah combined with Christmas,” he said. “It means a lot, because our Jewish community has become smaller. As a matter of fact, we used to have four synagogues and temples in the area. Now there’s basically just one. It’s pretty special for those of us who are still remaining in the community to get together and light the menorah.”
A 40-year resident of Flossmoor who serves on the village’s Green Commission, Jeffrey said it has been fun to watch the community tradition grow in the community. He did the first-night honors last year and said there were only two people — Lippert included — out there. So, he made some calls, and by the second night a half dozen came. A full dozen showed for Night 3.
“Before you know it, we had 20 or 30 people coming by,” Lippert said.
The story of one menorah
Two tables inside the Lipperts’ home highlight a collection of hanukkiahs — the nine-branched menorahs used for the holiday — many of which come with personal stories. And Gloria is happy to share them.
A particularly large hanukkiah, for instance, rests among other Hanukkah menorahs on a long table. While celebrating Jeffrey’s 50th birthday, a car crash stranded the couple in Loreto, Baja California, Mexico, over the holiday in the late 1990s. And residents there helped the couple.
A woman there had contracted a blacksmith for candelabras and received one that looked more like a menorah. So, the man who put the Lipperts up during their stay brought it with candles to use for Hanukkah.
During a party they attended on Christmas Eve at the woman’s house, Gloria offered to buy the menorah from her, but she insisted they have it as a gift. Jeffrey hopped on a bicycle and took it to a welder to have the central piece added. And now a photo album includes the memories of their time in Loreto, the people they met and the history of that particular hanukkiah.
But it is far from the only decoration with a story inside the Lipperts’ home.
“So many marvelous stories and experiences,” Gloria said.