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Faces of Federation

An Interview with NuRoots Experience Co-Creator Rebecca Lauber

Infinite Light 2017 is NuRoots’ third annual citywide celebration of miracles. It’s a curated, eight-day festival of experiences that highlights the creative energy of Hanukkah generated by the diversity of the Los Angeles Jewish community — and a chance to unite, engage, and inspire thousands of young adults in their 20s and 30s with new ways to experience an ancient tradition.

As part of the festival, community member Rebecca Lauber is hosting a Hanukkah Hangout, an intimate gathering at her home. The evening will include consumption of Bubbie’s latkes, lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, and sharing stories, giving people the chance to experience community by coming together with local neighbors and friends in appreciation of the miracle that sustained the Jews thousands of years ago.

Rebecca is a native Texan who found her way to L.A. 11 years ago to attend USC. She adores the amazing diversity, community, and culture in this city.

Tell us about yourself. How did you first discover NuRoots? What has been your NuRoots experience?

Since moving to L.A. from Texas, I’ve spent most of my time here on the east side and first discovered NuRoots after a chance encounter with Elina at a holiday party. She seduced me with challah talk, which led to learning about NuRoots. I’ve attended a number of events ranging from listening to vinyl and brunches to happy hours. It’s been a great community to tap into, even after being in L.A. for so long.

Why are you participating in Infinite Light? What have you enjoyed about it?

Infinite Light is a special opportunity to gather with family and friends, old and new, to share about Hanukkah and family customs and spend time with those who matter as the year comes to an end. I love the emphasis on gratitude and food!

What can we look forward to in your Infinite Light experience? What do you hope to achieve?

I’ll be making my Bubbie’s famous latke recipe in her memory. I’m looking forward to having attendees share their own rituals and memories. I think it’s also a nice excuse to continue the gratitude thread of Thanksgiving and reflect on the past year, so I’ll have attendees talk about things they’re grateful for.

Do you have a favorite Hanukkah memory or tradition?

My Bubbie passed away five years ago, and one of my favorite ways to commemorate her is to make her latkes and share them and stories about her with friends. There’s nothing like smelling of oil and potatoes to know I’ve accomplished that.

A favorite Hanukkah memory is from my teenage years when for one night of Hanukkah I was gifted Pick Up Sticks from my parents. I expressed dissatisfaction with the gift with a bratty attitude, so the next night my gift was a donation made in my name to a battered women’s shelter. I thought that was the best Hanukkah gift (and lesson) I’ve ever received.

What advice do you have for young people on their Jewish journeys?

I recommend taking the time to meet new people and nurture relationships with those in the Jewish community, no matter your level of religious observance. It’s amazing to have that kind of extended family as you explore your relationship with Judaism.