Shalhevet High School’s 19-voice choir provided the music at the Third Annual LAPD Chanukah Menorah Lighting on December 16 at Police Headquarters downtown. Led by Shalhevet music teacher Mrs. Joelle Keene, the choir sang a capella arrangements of “Maoz Tzur” and “Mi Yemalel,” followed by the blessings over the candles. Then Rabbi Newman hoisted a little boy onto his shoulders to light the giant menorah.
The crowd included 100 police officers, politicians and members of the public, and the choir were able to meet Mayor Eric Garcetti after the performance. Police Chief Charlie Beck also attended and the heads of the Hollywood Division and other sections were in attendance along with families of officers killed in the line of duty, who were honored at the event.
The event was organized by LAPD chaplain Rabbi Shmuel Newman, who thanked the department for its service and presented inscribed chanukiyot to families of the fallen officers. Rabbi Newman also gave a dvar Torah about finding light in times of darkness, tying together the service of the officers to the theme of Chanukah.
After the program, the students and their parents were invited to a kosher buffet of latkes, donuts and more, arranged by Rabbi Newman. Everyone mingled with the police officers and the event’s organizers.
“It was a privilege to have been invited, to get out into the city that is our home and thank some of the people who work hard to keep it safe for everyone,” said Mrs. Keene later.
Two staff members of Shalhevet’s newspaper, The Boiling Point, were also in attendance, and were able to show Mayor Garcetti a photo of him reading the paper during his campaign in 2013. “Oh, the Boiling Point!” Mayor Garcetti exclaimed, seeming to actually remember it. “You need to send me some new issues.”
The choir also performed during Chanukah at Barnes & Noble at the Grove. It rehearses twice a week at Shalhevet after school and learns a program of Jewish, Israeli and popular music.