This year’s Chanukah Wonderland is expected to be quieter than last year’s, according to Rabbi Levi Deitsch, because last year the holiday coincided with the Christmas holiday and more students were able to participate in the activities. However, Deitsch is expecting nearly a thousand people to visit the Wonderland over the weekend of Dec. 11-12.
“On the opening day (Dec. 5) we had over 350 people,” said Deitsch. “It was crazy.” In 3,000 square feet of space, Chabad Lubavitch of Northern Virginia, offers the community a variety of Chanukah activities for the whole family, especially the children. “It’s fantastic to have this in the community,” said Sarah Schultz, who brought her 3- year-old daughter, Abby, to Chanukah Wonderland. She added that it was wonderful to have a place to go during the holidays, where Abby can meet other Jewish children.
Other parents shared Schultz’s opinion. “I think it’s really nice to have a place where kids can do some Chanukah stuff,” said Leigh Claypool. She brought her son Alex, 6, and daughter Lennon, 3, to enjoy arts and crafts activities as well as meet other children.
Chanukah Wonderland offers arts and crafts tables, a table to write cards for Israeli soldiers, a Giant Table Chanukah Board Game, a Dreidel House and a video station. The Dreidel House tells the story of Chanukah through pictures, while a CD provides the narrative. The activities are free, and a program of activities and projects for the children is available each day. “The idea is that the kids have fun,” said Deitsch.
A computer station is set up to provide entertainment for both the children and the adults. Interactive Chanukah computer games and educational programs about Chanukah are available with the use of the computers. The games and programs can be bought at the Wonderland’s gift shop, which also offers cookies, coffee mugs, puzzles, and music CDs, among other things. Denise Dewhurst, the mother of 3-year-old Emily, said that it is not easy to find Chanukah music elsewhere.
Chanukah Wonderland is located at 2095 Chain Bridge Road, Vienna, and will operate through Wednesday, Dec. 15. Deitsch said that weekdays are expected to be quiet but that the weekends will be “beautiful,” as many families will come out with their children. For more information, call the Wonderland Hotline at 703-356-3451.