The 9th annual “Latkepalooza” at Congregation Beth Shalom in Pittsburgh is open to families across the Jewish community.
There’s plenty of fried food, face painting and carnival-style games.
Seventeen-year-old Ariel Holstein runs the putt-putt game. For him, the past five weeks have been intense. He says there was a lot to take in after police say a shooter killed 11 people at the nearby Tree of Life Synagogue in October.
“I went to all the vigils and I helped out, I helped set up,” he said. “It was very heartbreaking and I thought we had to come together as a community.”
Since the shooting, there have been youth-led events like rallies and prayer services. Young people have also been engaging in ongoing conversations with each other and in their classrooms about rising anti-Semitism.
Holstein said the dialogue has helped with the healing. But now, it’s Hanukkah, the first major Jewish holiday since the shooting, and it’s nice to take a break.