Chanukah can sometimes receive less attention than other holidays, as daily work and school routines go on, even as candles are lit. At Central, though, the Chanukah spirit is alive! Well before the holiday started, teachers and students started getting in gear, as they collectively brainstormed and contributed over fifty items to the Chanukah Chinese auction, signed up for Mystery Maccabee, and, last Motzei Shabbat, kicked off the festive spirit with an amazing Cultural Arts performance. The offerings for the Chinese Auction now adorn the cafeteria walls, and teachers and students have already been seen sneaking around, quietly dropping off little presents on each others’ desks. If you see something, don’t say something! The real fun began Tuesday, December 12th, Erev Chanukah, with Faculty Color War and a pre-Chanukah Program. The senior class spent many hours designing Color War for Faculty with teams, challenges, and games. Senior Ellie Berger said, “the faculty ended up taking it so seriously, dressed up, and played all our games! We had a great time–it was a Chanukah miracle!” The pre-Chanukah program at the end of the day on Tuesday encouraged students to take a deeper look at the tefillot of Chanukah, and then broke into fun and games. Students from different grades competed in “Find the Gelt in the Olive Oil” and “Make a Play Dough Menorah.” The event ended with the entire school lighting the first Chanukah candle together. But the fun was only just beginning. On Wednesday morning, students were treated to a presentation and performance by Ilan Swartz-Brownstein, a Yeshiva University student, self-taught beatboxer, and former contestant on America’s Got Talent! Swartz-Brownstein was entertaining and engaging, as he shared his journey to Orthodoxy and his talent. He explained how anyone can use his/her talent to spread light, as he has been able to spread happiness by performing for Jewish crowds all over the world. He spoke about how meaningful it was for him to be able to participate in America’s Got Talent as an Orthodox Jew, and make a kiddush Hashem, both on stage and behind the scenes, as the first Jew most of the contestants had ever met. Sprinkled into his story were quick beatboxing lessons for the entire student body, capped with an amazing freestyle performance as the bell rang! Senior Avigayil Winokur, said “He was one of the best speakers I have ever heard! I loved his message that anyone can use their talent for good.” Stay tuned for the rest of the Chanukah festivities! Before the holiday is over, there will be a Chanukah chagigah, musical Hallel, menorah wars, and more!