Public Menorah Lightings Help Commemorate Hanukkah

One of the menorahs brought to Temple Beth El Dec. 27 for the temple’s public candle lighting gala.

Hanukkah, the “Miracle of the Lights,” was commemorated Dec. 27 in two public ceremonies in the township.

The Chabad Center for Jewish Life of Hillsborough held a menorah lighting ceremony at the Somerset ShopRite on Old New Brunswick Road, and Temple Beth El held its annual menorah lighting gala at the Hamilton Street temple.

The annual holiday this year began at sundown on Dec. 24 and lasts through Jan. 1, 2017. Hanukkah – and the lighting of one menorah candle for each of the holiday’s eight days – commemorates the account in the Talmud of the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Revolt. After the temple had been restored, according to the account, the Maccabees wanted to light its candles. A small container of oil was all that could be found, and the expectation was that it would last one night. But the oil lasted eight nights, which was considered a miracle, and which led to the annual commemoration.

At ShopRite, the Chabad’s Miriam Krinsky told the attendees that the menorah candles represented the spreading of light throughout the world.

“There’s a reason why we increase the light every night, why we don’t just light all eight candles at once,” she said. “Because as people, as Jews, we are meant to continually increase in all the things that we do, in all the light that we bring to the world, and all the goodness that we bring to the world.”

“I want to encourage you tonight, and every night of Hanukkah, to think about how to bring light into your own life, but also into the lives of the people around you,” she said. “There are many people who could use a little light in their lives, and I want to encourage you to be that person who reaches out and finds another person who needs a little extra light in their life.”

“Our world needs light and goodness,” she said.

Krinsky said the event has been done for at least the last 10 years in Franklin and also in Hillsborough.

“Hanukah is all about publicizing the miracle of the holiday,” she said. “You want to get as many people as possible to know.”

Also attending the event were Township Councilwoman Roz Sherman (D-Ward 2) and Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levine.

At Temple Beth El, many congregants brought their personal menorahs to the ceremony.

The temple has always held its public menorah lighting ceremony on Tuesday of Hanukkah week, said Mark Hilton, the temple’s president.

Aside from the candle lighting, attendees sang songs, played the Dreidel game, and ate.

“We eat potato latkas, potato pancakes friend in oil,” he said. “The symbolism is in the oil. We also eat doughnuts. Foods that are made from oil are the way we commemorate this holiday.”

Also attending the Temple Beth El ceremony were Mayor Phil Kramer, Township Councilman Rajiv Prasad (D-At large), Sherman and Levine.

2016 Hanukkah in the Township


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