Chabad of Southern Delaware lit a 9-foot public Chanukah menorah on the Baywalk in Dewey Beach Dec. 18, the first night of the eight-day Festival of Lights. The event attracted almost 200 people and featured a public lighting, holiday songs, traditional hot latkes, fresh Brooklyn donuts, hot chocolate and a fire juggler. The backdrop of the setting sun on the bay fit in perfectly with the beautiful event. Complimentary Chanukah menorahs and candles were distributed for participants to light at home. The public Chanukah celebration was the first of its kind in Dewey.
“Everyone was really excited about the event,” said Rabbi Sholom Vogel, director of Chabad of Southern Delaware. “The smiles and comments we received just highlight how much the community enjoyed and appreciated it. The holiday is so meaningful and joyous, and celebrating it in a public way makes it all the more special. We are so fortunate to live in a time and country that values and protects religious freedoms. We celebrated our history by creating history in Dewey Beach with this first public menorah lighting."
“We had a great time! This was the best Chanukah celebration I’ve had in over 40 years,” said participant Teri Quigley.
Chanukah began this year on the evening of Dec. 18 and concludes the evening of Monday, Dec. 26. It recalls the victory some 2,200 years ago of a militarily weak Jewish people who defeated the Syrian-Greeks who had overrun ancient Israel and sought to impose restrictions on the Jewish way of life and prohibit religious freedom. They desecrated and defiled the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and sought to prevent the lighting of the menorah, which was part of the daily service. Upon recapturing the temple, only one jar of undefiled oil was found, enough to burn only one day, but it lasted eight. In commemoration, Jews celebrate Chanukah for eight days by lighting an eight-branched candelabrum known as a menorah. Today, people of all faiths consider the holiday a symbol and message of the triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, of light over darkness. Additional information about the holiday is available at www.ChabadDE.com/Chanukah.
Chabad of Southern Delaware is based in Lewes servicing the Sussex County area and has been met with tremendous excitement since its arrival some seven months ago. Torah classes, holiday programming, Shabbat meals, Jewish experiences, home visits and outreach are many of its activities.
For more information, contact 302-377-1162 or email RabbiSholomDe@gmail.com.