Celebrating Khanike Together Through Community Art


The Boston Workers Circle community has found creative ways to come together to celebrate Khanike safely and lovingly this year!


BWC members and families are hosting nightly candle-lightings over Zoom at 6 p.m., and we partnered with the Jewish Arts Collaborative on their “Brighter Connected” Hanukkah art celebration. 


Emily Bhargava, a Shule parent and BWC member, is an artist featured in the “Brighter Connected” show. She is excited to share her work with the Boston Workers Circle community as part of the JArts Celebration.


Emily shared the story and process with us behind her exciting cut paper designs that will be on display: 


“I’ve been thrilled to combine my love of stained glass, collaborative art and anthropology in a project for the Jewish Arts Collaborative’s “Brighter Connected” Hanukkah installation. 


For my piece, titled 'Looking In,' I worked with 18 families to turn traditions that are meaningful to them into cut paper designs that I combined into three windows. The windows will hang in the Woburn Public Library throughout Hanukkah, visible from inside the building during their open hours and from outside the building in the evenings. 


Although we can’t physically welcome others into our spaces right now, the windows provide symbolic entry to one another’s homes in a moment when many of us feel isolated.

I was lucky enough to help Tova Speter, a friend and fellow community artist, install her piece 'Brighter Together' at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) as part of JArts celebration in years past. This year’s socially-distanced version of a Hanukkah arts festival is a re-imagining of the MFA events, with 8 artists sharing their light-inspired works in windows across the city. 

COVID-19 has made it harder to do the kinds of collaborative projects that require shared materials and group activities, but it’s been a wonderful challenge to find ways to continue to engage the community in safe ways.  

For this project, I used video conferencing for initial conversations about traditions, good old-fashioned snail mail to move paper back and forth to some families who wanted to cut their own designs, and backyard gatherings to do some of the collaborative design for paper cuts. While the logistics were complicated, I love that we found ways for each family to engage. 

Check out 'Looking In' at the Woburn Public Library from December 9 through the 17 to learn about a rich diversity of family traditions practiced in our community and find more of my collaborative art projects at www.connectionlab.org.”




Thanks, Emily! For more information, including the full artist line-up and a family-friendly activity worksheet, visit: circleboston.org/khanike2020


Questions, comments, cute pictures of you and your family visiting the exhibits? Reach out to Maddy, maddy@circleboston.org.