Faces of Federation

Infinite Light 2018: 10 Days, 20 Neighborhoods, 40 Events

Infinite Light 2018 was the fourth annual citywide celebration of Hanukkah miracles powered by NuRoots, the Federation’s innovative grassroots initiative engaging young adults in their 20s and 30s in reimagined, creative, and meaningful experiences. This year, the 10-day festival offered over 40 Hanukkah experiences in over 20 neighborhoods across L.A. From November 30 to December 9, around 3,000 young adults connected, were inspired, and experienced an ancient tradition — reimagined.

Envisioned, designed, and curated by a blend of local organizations and community members, Infinite Light’s lineup of gatherings highlighted the unique energy of the holiday and reflected Los Angeles’ wildly diverse young adult community. From Santa Monica to Echo Park, this year’s festival featured a breadth of culinary feasts, service projects, storytelling slams, art workshops, and learning opportunities. “This year, we were really excited to see new collaborations across organizations and new Hanukkah themes and traditions brought to life,” said Margalit Rosenthal, Senior Vice President of NuRoots. She continued, “Together, we uncovered themes like the resilience and strength of the Maccabees through a self-defense class, while several community members and organizations wanted to explore Hanukkah traditions from Jewish communities around the world. This really reflects the diversity of our Jewish community in L.A. It’s not just about jelly doughnuts and latkes — it’s also about sfenj (Moroccan doughnuts) and finding the intersection between traditional Jewish and Latin cuisines.”

Nearly 200 young adults kicked off Infinite Light 2018 on Friday, November 30, at First Night. NuRoots hosted the signature kickoff event in partnership with OneTable, an organization that supports young people in creating their own unique Shabbat experiences. The epic and intimate communal Shabbat dinner brought NuRoots community members together to ring in the celebration of miracles. “We’re so proud of our team for making a 200-person Shabbat dinner feel intimate, personal, and purposeful,” shared Jason Leivenberg, Senior Vice President of NuRoots. “Space, lighting, layout — all of those things really matter, and we are very intentional with all elements of our programming. 25% of the people who came this year had never experienced NuRoots before. We’re really excited to connect with those people now and engage them in the community in a deep and meaningful way.”

First Night was just the beginning! Over the following nine festival days, Angelenos had the opportunity to explore the rituals and story of Hanukkah at over 40 experiences across Los Angeles. From baking challah with Holocaust survivors in West Hollywood to vocal cleanses in DTLA, there was a Hanukkah experience for everybody!

In addition to inspiring our community to think about Hanukkah differently, the festival offered a cohesive platform for creative Jewish expression and community connection through a custom-designed, beautiful, user-friendly web platform. Didn’t get a chance to see it? Don’t worry, NuRoots keeps the website live all year round so people can get excited for the year to come! Check it out at http://infinitelight.la.

To learn more about Federation’s NuRoots, email NuRoots@JewishLA.org.