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North Pinellas religion briefs

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are similar in that they both embrace a sense of gratitude for freedom from religious persecution and will be celebrated on the same day this year — the first time since 1918 when Thanksgiving was on Hanukkah eve.

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To mark the occasion, Chabad of Clearwater will host a Grand Hanukkah Celebration at 6 p.m. today on the Beach Walk in front of the Surfstyle Megastore, 311 Gulfview Blvd. on Clearwater Beach.

The public is invited to the kindling of the first doughnut menorah in Tampa Bay, featuring hundreds of the sweet treats. While there, take part in a latke-eating competition and catch a performance by the Fritzy Brothers One Man Circus. Jewish music and dancing are planned and there will be gifts for the kids and chocolate gelt, doughnuts and latkes for all.

The event is free and open to the entire community.


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Music, latkes and round jelly doughnuts known as sufganiyot will be part of a candle-lighting ceremony for the first night of Hanukkah from 6 to 6:30 p.m. today at Congregation B'nai Emmunah, 3374 Keystone Road in Tarpon Springs.

Call (727) 938-9000.

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Congregation Ohr Chadash, a Messianic Jewish synagogue at 3190 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd. in Clearwater, invites the public to a special service in celebration of Hanukkah at 8 p.m. Friday. It will commemorate the incidents that made possible the recovery and cleansing of the temple under the Maccabees and the miracle of lights which illuminated the rededication of the temple.

The service is free.

Call (727) 726-1472. Visit

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Lace up those skates for Chabad of Pinellas County's eighth annual Hanukkah on Ice celebration from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Westfield Countryside Mall, 27001 U.S. 19 N in Clearwater.

The event includes skating to Israeli music, Hanukkah gelt, dreidels, doughnuts, hot latkes and an opportunity for participants to decorate their own Hanukkah cookies.

Bring a nonperishable food item for donation to a local food bank.

Reservations are required. Call (727) 789-0408 or visit

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There's still time to register children for Kirk Church's fifth annual "Breakfast With Santa" Dec. 7 at 2686 Bayshore Blvd. in Dunedin.

The event is free and open to anyone in the community with a child/children in fifth grade or younger. It includes a pancake breakfast, a funny skit presented by Santa's elves and a free gift for each child.

Two sessions, 8:30 and 10:30 a.m., are currently open with a 100-child limit for each session. An additional session may be added if the first two fill quickly.

Tickets, required for each youngster, make it possible to personalize gifts and are available online at or

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After meeting at various local hotels, Temple Beth Chai David, a newly formed Jewish synagogue, has put down roots in Bradley Plaza, 39330 U.S. 19 N in Tarpon Springs.

The temple, led by Rabbi David Levin, got its start in 2010 as a chavurah, an informal group of Jews and interfaith families who gathered to pray together on the sabbath. Plans for a permanent location solidified after providing High Holy Day services in 2012 at Ruth Eckerd Hall, when many letters were received requesting a temple be established.

Rabbi Levin's vision is to form a community of members who support one another in a time of difficulty and also share life's joyful blessings, visit the sick, perform kiruv outreach, participate in charitable acts and work to bring about tikkun olam, the betterment of the world.

Currently unaffiliated Jewish and interfaith families in the area are invited to attend Shabbat services at 7:30 p.m. every Friday evening to rekindle a connection to the heritage, culture and traditions of Judaism.

Call (727) 697-3982 or (352) 428-2280.

Mail religion news to Tampa Bay Times, 1130 Cleveland St., Suite 100-A, Clearwater, FL 33755; fax to (727) 445-4119; or email

North Pinellas religion briefs 11/26/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 4:51pm]
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