WESTFIELD, NJ — In observance of the first night of Hanukkah, Westfield residents attended a menorah lighting by the North Avenue train station with Union County Torah Center-Chabad. Attendees enjoyed treats of doughnuts and gelt (chocolate coins), courtesy of the synagogue.
The menorah, lighting held during a light rain, marks the beginning of the eight-day Jewish festival celebrating an ancient victory by the Jews, and the miracle of a day’s supply of oil that kept the rededicated Temple lighted for eight days.
Referencing the recent shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Rabbi Levi Block, of the Union County Torah Center-Chabad, discussed the menorah's symbolism.
“A little light dispels the darkness, and we can combat evil with good," Block said. "When something negative happens, we need to rededicate our positive energy."
Deputy Mayor Linda Habgood (standing in for Mayor Shelley Brindle, who was at a family wedding) in addition to council members David Contract, Mike Dardia and Dawn Mackey attended.
Habgood referenced a Hanukkah prayer written by Rabbi Warren Stone, which said that coming together for the holiday “reminds us that we are interconnected as a global community.”
“It’s wonderful for everyone to gather, despite the rain, Habgood said. "We’re so happy to see so many members of our community here.”
The Union County Torah Center-Chabad will host a family Hanukkah party on Tuesday, Dec. 4, at its synagogue at 111 Laurel Place, in Westfield, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, click here.
The center will also hold menorah lightings in Scotch Plains on Monday, Dec. 3, Cranford on Wednesday, Dec. 5, and Mountainside on Thursday, Dec. 6. For details, click here.