Spence Levy made it early to Temple Beth Am Friday night — partly because he wanted to take part in the Hanukkah service, and partly to expose his children to Star Wars.
Yes, you read that right.
The Pinecrest temple held a Star Wars Hanukkah Shabbat to celebrate the sixth night of the holiday. There were glow sticks, light sabers and characters from the movie. The celebration even included the retelling of the Hanukkah story, with a Star Wars twist.
“I figured this was a good way to introduce them to Star Wars, get them hooked like I am,” said Levy, before turning to his daughter Nomi and pointing to a statue of Padmé Amidala. “That one is a princess, your favorite.”
“Princess,” the 3-year-old repeated, smiling.
The celebration, which fell about a week before Star Wars: The Force Awakens is released, drew hundreds to the temple. Rabbi Rachel Greengrass dressed as Princess Leia and Rabbi Jeremy Barras as Luke Skywalker, in the orange flight suit.
He even sang version of Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah song, using names of people at the temple.
“It’s really fun,” Barras said. “We’re sort of bringing themes of Star Wars in a bit of a parody form, to help educate people on the real meaning of the holiday.”
This included posting memes during the service with frames from the past movies, including one that said, “These aren’t the dreidels you’re looking for,” and telling the Hanukkah story by starting off with, “A long time ago in a land far, far away a group of Jews banded together to fight a rebel cause.”
Some people dressed up to attend the service. Daniel Muskat, 13, was among them.
“I’m just a regular Jedi,” said Daniel, adding that his family is doing a nightly Star Wars marathon to prep for the movie. “It’s a lot more than the battles, there’s the story, there’s the characters, there’s the force!”
Daniel had more reason to celebrate because he had his bar mitzvah the next day. During the Star Wars service he lit a candle, which was on top of R2-D2’s head, with his family.
And C-3PO was holding the menorah.