BELMAR, NJ — The dazzling holiday display in Belmar’s Pyanoe Plaza is now complete with the lighting of the menorah last night in celebration of Hanukkah.
With the setting of the sun, the community gathered on December 23 under the twinkling glow of the plaza, where the second light of the towering candelabrum was kindled. And this year, the festivities were led in story, prayer and song by two local families — Reyna Brandl and daughters Chloe and Adrienne, and Orly Vallario and daughters Nia and Lyla.
Chloe Brandl told the story of the “Hanukkah miracle” — when a one-day supply of oil burned for eight days after the Jewish Maccabees regained control of its holy temple in the year 165 B.C.
Orly Vallario recounted an interesting twist to this year’s celebration as told by a rabbi during Shabbat this past Friday: The purpose of Hanukkah is to add light to the world, and this year, the eight-day Festival of Lights began on the winter solstice, when the days start to grow longer with more sunlight.
“How wonderful is it we light the menorah on the day we start shedding more light on the world,” she said. “I thought that was pretty powerful. Hanukkah is a wonderful holiday, it’s wonderful for the kids, and it’s wonderful to give and not just to receive.”
Reyna Brandl ended the festivities by inviting everyone to Brandl’s restaurant, where husband Chris has hosted a traditional Hanukkah meal following the official lighting for the past four years.
The remaining lights on the menorah will be illuminated — one by one — through the evening of December 30.
To view a video on the menorah lighting, visit Belmar's Facebook page by clicking here.
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