Jewish high schoolers add extra Glee to Home performance

Perhaps Ilana Glaun, the communications director at the Jewish Home of San Francisco, put it best: “j. publishes a story and our Bay Area community takes notice!”

Indeed, after reading a feature in the Nov. 12 j. about the Jewish Home’s annual Chanukah show — a takeoff on the TV series “Glee,” replete with senior residents starring as cheerleaders and football players — a handful of students from San Francisco’s Jewish high school expressed a desire to collaborate.

So they contacted the Jewish Home, and the gig was on.

For the Dec. 5 public performance, 10 students from the Jewish Community High School of the Bay took part in several ways. Before the show, they helped the residents get into their costumes and apply their makeup. And after the curtain went up, they waved flags and pompoms and joined in on cheers.

Some of the students from the JCHS who helped residents at the Jewish Home put on a Chanukah show: (from left) Hannah Rosenzweig, Zoe Kamil, Sarah Skootsky, Claire Ambruster, Shaina Alcheck and Rachel Shatz.

The production — which featured acting, singing, dancing, storytelling and poetry — was titled “Simchat,” which translates to “Rejoice” (thus the takeoff on the Fox TV show “Glee”). The public performance drew a packed house, including members of the board, in the Home’s Lynne and Roy Frank Family Lounge.

“We delighted in the breadth of talent, clapped in time to joyous melodies, were moved by poignant pieces and laughed through a Top 10 list of why Chanukah is more important than Christmas,” Daniel Ruth, the Home’s president and CEO, wrote in a recent newsletter. “We were also pleased to welcome [the students], who added their youthful exuberance to the pep rally portion of the production.”

By volunteering to help, the students also fulfilled their community service requirements. “We knew this would be a fun way to volunteer our time,” Sally Khomick, 14, said in the Jewish Home newsletter. “It’s also a way for us to give a little back to the community.”

Rachel Shatz, 17, (left) and Libby Parker, 14, help Jewish Home resident Bernice Hunold with her makeup before she takes to the stage to tell a story.

Glaun said the event was such a success that the Jewish Home is now exploring possible future collaborations with the high school.

“The spirit that infused this multigenerational happening was reflected in the glow from the candles on the menorah and the smiles on the faces of our performers and community guests,” Ruth concluded.