Moorestown Jewish Association continue menorah lighting, Humans of Moorestown traditions

Each year the local organization shares the stories of local families who volunteer to light the community menorah

The Moorestown Jewish Association has a tradition this time each year: It highlights local families who volunteer for a chance to light the menorah outside Moorestown’s Community House on one of the eight nights of Hanukkah.

The MJA, according to Vice President Marla Deibler, is a community social service organization that brings together the Jewish community in and around Moorestown and runs charitable programs with other local organizations.

For years now, it has selected families in the area to light the menorah candle each night of the Jewish holiday and have their stories told as Humans of Moorestown (inspired by the popular photo blog Humans of New York).

Despite the prevalence of Christmas displays in town during the holidays, Deibler feels Moorestown, especially in recent years, has done a fair job representing multicultural holiday traditions as well.

“There’s been a nice effort toward inclusiveness and diversity in town, especially with the events of MoorUnity and other organizations like that,” she said.

MJA Board Member and Digital Content Manager Cynthia Zipin couldn’t agree more.

“I definitely feel like (Moorestown) is increasing opportunities for that,” she noted. “We are very proud of the fact that the grand menorah is on the (community house) lawn with the town tree.

“It creates a very welcoming environment for everyone who practices different faiths — or no faith — just to see multiple representations in town.”

Along with her husband, David, and their 12-year-old twins, Abigail and Madelyn, Cynthia Zipin continues what has become a tradition for her family as volunteers lighting the community menorah. 

Raised Catholic, she married into Jewish traditions and her family now celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah. Zipin and her husband do their best to emphasize both sides to  their daughters, the traditions they share and what makes them unique.

“They are being raised to know both,” Zipin said of her daughters, who look forward to the menorah-lighting tradition.

Although the Jewish association strives to feature new families each year through Humans of Moorestown, with Christmas and Hanukkah landing on the same week this year many residents were out of town, leaving the group to draw from a smaller pool of candidates. The MJA recently asked if Zipin’s family could participate as they have in years past and they were happy to oblige.

Despite their differences, both holidays offer the Zipin family an added opportunity to engage in what makes the holiday special: time with family.

“We have an opportunity to celebrate with my big, extended Italian family and we have an opportunity to celebrate with my husband’s Jewish family,” Zipin related.

“It’s a great time to spend a lot of time with family that you don’t always get to see.”

For more information about the MJA or to find out about future events, visit the Facebook page or the website at moorestownjewishassociation.org.