Powered by NuRoots, the Federation’s innovative grassroots initiative engaging young adults, Infinite Light 2018 was our fourth annual citywide celebration of Hanukkah miracles. The 10-day festival had over 40 Hanukkah experiences in over 20 neighborhoods across L.A. From November 30 to December 9, 3,000 young adults connected, found inspiration, and experienced an ancient tradition — reimagined. Envisioned, designed, and curated by a blend of local organizations and community members, Infinite Light’s lineup of gatherings highlighted the unique energy of the holiday and reflected Los Angeles’ wildly diverse young adult community. NuRoots community member Tally Sumekh opened up about her Infinite Light experience Discover Your Light, a multi-sensory art installation and storytelling gathering; her go-to L.A. spots; and Hanukkah rituals.
What defines Jewish culture or tradition for you?
Jewish culture is about tradition and family. The abundance of holidays that we celebrate with family and friends keeps us close to our families and maintains the culture.
What’s your favorite place in L.A., and why?
For sure the ocean, right at the top of PCH. There’s all the L.A. craziness right behind you, but you’re transported to the blissful vast ocean where you forget what is just a couple of feet behind you.
Did you have a Bat Mitzvah? What did it look like?
My sister and I did it together! It was epic. We wore tiaras. There was a separate “teen room” with a DJ playing copious R.Kelly and Lil John while the main ballroom featured Persian music.
A piece of advice you would give 13-year-old you?
You’re awesome! Stop sweating the small stuff.
A past trend that you wish would come back?
Zig-Zag Hairbands. Iconic.
Finish this sentence: The world could use a little more __________
What Hanukkah tradition/ritual would you still like to be doing 10 years from now? Why is it meaningful to you?
Lighting the menorah with colored candles with my family. Seeing those classic red, blue, and orange colored candles reminds me of Hanukkah as a child.
How did you get involved with NuRoots?
Through my amazing and thoughtful friend Donna who thought I’d enjoy hosting an event.
What inspired you to co-create an experience for Infinite Light?
I love the idea of providing an experience for people. Having all of their senses be immersed in the moment and then leaving with a new mindset or feeling like they were in a different world. It has us shift the way we think and impacts our quality of life.
What’s one thing you know now about the Jewish community that you wish you knew sooner?
I’ve always been grateful to have been aware of the magic of the Jewish community from an early age. The Iranian Jewish community is so intimate that you can’t help but appreciate all the good that comes with that.
When it comes to latkes, what’s your preferred topping?
Ketchup is always number one (don’t fight me on this), and sour cream would be second.
To learn more about NuRoots, email NuRoots@JewishLA.org.