InterfaithFamily/Atlanta will host a prom-themed Chanukah party for the second consecutive year. Promukkah 5778, which is planned to be an annual event, will be Saturday night, Dec. 16, at Ponce City Market.
The event will include many of the same fun activities as last year, as well as new things, including live entertainment. Rabbi Malka Packer-Monroe, the director of IFF/Atlanta, said Roxie Roz, a burlesque collective of dancers, performers, comedians and artists, will perform in a celebration of the themes of love for the holidays and a throwback to younger days.
Shellie Schmals, the headliner of Roxie Roz, also works with the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.
The food at Promukkah will be a bit different with a latke tasting station offering three types of latkes, and Second Self Beer is a sponsor. A revamped photo booth will include photo magnets.
Picking up a tradition from IFF/Atlanta’s Chanukah party two years ago that wasn’t a part of the first Promukkah, the organization is asking everyone to bring a chanukiah so they can all be lighted at the same time. The difference, Rabbi Packer-Monroe said, is that Promukkah falls on the fifth night of Chanukah this year; last year, it wasn’t during the festival.
Rabbi Packer-Monroe described the experience two years ago, with 45 participants, and what she hopes it will be like this year. “It was so beautiful to have all of them together and everyone lighting together. So we’re excited to see what will happen this year. If we get over 100 people like we did last year, we’re excited to see how many people bring their chanukiahs and how much light there will be that we will create together as a community.”
Rebecca Holohan of Decatur enjoyed Promukkah last year and plans to go again.
“It’s such a fun concept. I loved seeing everyone’s prom outfits,” she said. “There was delicious food, lots of dancing and a great photo booth. The highlight for me was being lifted onto a chair during the horah with my wife, Kai, because we had just gotten married the day before.”
Holohan said she looks forward to celebrating Chanukah with friends at the IFF/Atlanta party.
Amy Price of Chamblee also plans to attend Promukkah for the second time.
“Promukkah was a lot of fun with great dancing, friends and food,” Price said. “I thought it was a well-done event in a very cool space. I had a fun time last year, so I’m looking forward to the experience again.”
IFF/Atlanta’s partners for the event include the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Honeymoon Israel, Moishe House, Limmud Atlanta + Southeast, SOJOURN, Atlanta Jewish Music Festival, and Be’chol Lashon, which supports Jews of color and Jewish diversity.
“For us, it’s important to partner with organizations like Be’chol Lashon and SOJOURN because we really strive to be welcoming and inclusive of everyone in the Jewish community,” Rabbi Packer-Monroe said. “That is a huge goal for us, is to be welcoming and inclusive of everyone and for everyone to feel comfortable and safe in this space.”
She said IFF/Atlanta learned a few lessons from last year’s Promukkah.
“One thing we learned is that people really loved it,” Rabbi Packer-Monroe said. “After Promukkah last year, I had several people come up to me and say that they were really excited that so many different organizations partnered together to put this on.”
She said she often hears complaints that organizations in Jewish Atlanta just focus on their own events rather than work together.
“People are really hungry for different organizations to come together for different events and not have seven different Chanukah events. Rather, they want one event that we are all sponsoring together so that people from different communities can get to know each other,” she said. “When we did it last year, it was definitely important to us, but this year that much more so. We really see that this is something important in the Jewish community.”
Rabbi Packer-Monroe also said IFF/Atlanta learned that people like going to Ponce City Market and will travel up to 90 minutes each way to attend.
The target demographic is people in their 20s, 30s and 40s, but Rabbi Packer-Monroe said anyone 21 or older is welcome. More than 100 people — Jewish couples, interfaith couples and singles — are expected.
“This is an event that is really geared towards anyone who wants to celebrate Chanukah and community. … Last year it was amazing to see people from different parts of the community and different ages come together and celebrate together and really connect,” she said.
Rabbi Packer-Monroe said IFF/Atlanta exists “to make sure that there are safe and welcoming spaces for people in interfaith families and relationships. A lot of the work I do is working with interfaith couples to help them discuss and navigate what it means to be in an interfaith relationship and an interfaith family. I provide a lot of counseling, perform lifecycle events and show up for folks to help them talk things through.”
What: Promukkah 5778
Where: Industrious at Ponce City Market, 675 Ponce de Leon Ave., Old Fourth Ward; take the elevators on the west side of the building near West Elm to the eighth floor
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16
Tickets: $10 without or $18 with alcohol in advance, $18 and $25 at the door;