JN Junior: Chanukah gelt, a blind barrister and fun things to do this winter

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JN Junior: Chanukah gelt, a blind barrister and fun things to do this winter

Learn why it's good to give gifts as well as to receive them

Genius Jake says: You probably don’t need me to tell you that this month is Chanukah, or that typically people get presents at Chanukah. But did you know that traditionally gifts were not a part of Chanukah? Instead ‘gelt’ – a small amount of money or chocolate coins – was given to children. Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights, lasts for eight days and nights to remember the miracle of how the oil in the Temple stayed lit for eight days even though there was barely enough left for one day. Some people might get a small gift every night and while it feels great to receive a gift, it can feel even better to give one and make someone feel thought of, whether it be family, friends or someone less fortunate than yourself. Gifts don’t have to be bought from a shop or cost money; you could bake someone a cake, volunteer for their chosen charity, grow them a plant, upcycle something from your home or write them a poem. When I think back to last Chanukah, it’s not the presents I received that I remember but the lovely memories of lighting the menorah, eating donuts and the delicious aroma of freshly fried latkes.


Leo Rajbenbach

What ‘free’ gift (and to who?) would you like to give someone this Chanukah?

Leo Rajbenbach, Age 7, from Totteridge, says: “This Chanukah if I was giving a free gift to someone I would choose my sister.  This is because she helped me learn to swim this summer and I am really happy about that. I would give her eight chocolate cupcakes, for the eight days of Chanukah, so she can have one each day. Each cupcake would have a letter from the words ‘thank you’ on it. I would make it a surprise to make it more special and give her a cuddle when I gave them to her!”

Good News For… Jess Inaba

Londoner Jess Inaba has become Britain’s first blind and black female barrister. A barrister is a special type of lawyer, usually hired by solicitors to represent a case in court – challenging if you are unable to see. But Jess hasn’t let that stop her, qualifying after five years of legal study using Braille to read texts. She said: “I’m not the most common gender or colour, and I have a disability, but by pushing through I’m easing the burden on the next person like me.” We think that’s pretty inspirational.

What’s On This Month

Babylon Park: The Israeli-based theme park that launched in London at the end of last year is already proving a hit with children. Located in Camden Market, north London, there’s a drop tower, bumper cars, carousels, arcade machines, soft play areas and even a rollercoaster. www.babylonpark.com

Kenwood Light Trail: Kenwood’s festive light trail is back with something to captivate all ages. There are tasty treats and impressive illuminations to transport you to a magical world of light and colour. Until 1 January 2023. www.christmasatkenwood.com

The Snowman: You can still get tickets for this season’s family-favourite The Snowman, which returns to the Peacock Theatre for its 25th year. Featuring colourful sets and extravagant costumes, exuberant dancing and a heart-warming story. Until 31 December. www.sadlerswells.com

Frameless: For a perfect indoor treat, head to Frameless, a new immersive art experience in London suitable for all ages. You won’t just be looking at a picture, you’ll be in the picture, as you journey through the four distinctive galleries, experiencing a different type of immersive technology in each one. www.frameless.com

Jack and the Beanstalk: The fun family pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk is on at the Radlett Centre this month, offering a jam-packed time of dazzling choreography, stunning sets, uplifting live music, glamourous costumes, plenty of audience participation and lots of laughs! www.radlettcentre.co.uk

The Smeds and The Smoos: Soar into space with this exciting adaptation of the award-winning book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler at the Arts Depot. On a far-off planet, Smeds and Smoos can’t be friends. So when a young Smed and Smoo fall in love and zoom off into space together, how will their families get them back? Until 2 Jan 2023. www.artsdepot.co.uk

Winter Wonderland: You don’t need to celebrate Christmas to enjoy all sorts of fun activities, rides, decorations and treats in one place at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Until 2 January. www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

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