MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Monday evening, December 23, at Ricalton Square in the center of Maplewood Village, there was a sizable gathering of friends and members of Congregation Beth Ephriam-Maplewood Jewish Center. They were present for the lighting of the candles for the second night of Chanukah. Rabbi Shalom Bogomilsky, the spiritual leader of the congregation, gave a brief explanation of the meaning of this holiday, pointing out that it is called the festival of lights.

Rabbi Bogomilsky explained that this festival celebrates the time when the Jews were able to reclaim their Temple from those who wanted to kill and eliminate the Jews at that time. He likened it to the many acts of violence against Jews in the recent past. The story tells of the Maccabees who, having defeated the Syrians, reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem; with oil enough to light the alter's lamp for one night, a miracle occurred when it burned for eight days until a fresh supply could be brought to the Temple. 

Rabbi Bogomilsky then called upon Deputy Mayor Frank McGehee to light the shamash (central candle used for lighting the others). The prayers were said by all and the Rabbi then called upon two of his congregants to light the first and second nights candles.

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Following the lighting of the candles songs were sung and latkes (potato pancakes cooked in oil) and jelly filled donuts were served.

In addition to the members of the Jewish community, and Deputy Mayor Frank McGehee, these elected Officials also attended the ceremonies: Committeemen Greg Lembrich and Dean Dafis, and Board of Education Member Shannon Cuttle. Dafis commented the lighting the candles is particularly important this year.