SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - South Orange celebrated the start of Hanukkah with the lighting of the first candle on the menorah in Spiotta Park Sunday evening, Dec 2.
Despite the light rain, a crowd turned out for the ceremony which was proceeded by the serving of donuts and hot chocolate. South Orange Village President Sheena Collum, accompanied by several members of the South Orange Board of Trustees, welcomed all and shared the history of the event.
"In 2014, I received a message from our local rabbis who generously offered to gift the township a beautiful menorah to celebrate the festival of lights," said Collum. "Fast forward four years, and it's an annual event enjoyed by all."
Rabbi Dan Cohen of Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel shared the significance of lighting candles during Hanukkah, saying, "it gives hope and it ignites love, even in our darkest moments."
The menorah was then lit by Rabbi Jesse Olitzky of Congregation Beth El, followed by a chanting of the traditional prayers for Hanukkah.
Cantor Erica Lippitz of Oheb Shalom led all in singing a variety of Hanukkah songs, and Rabbi Rachel Marder of Congregation Beth El spoke bout the significance of the holiday of Hanukkah lasting for eight days.
Maplewood will hold a menorah lighting on Thursday, Dec. 6, at 6:15 p.m. in Ricalton Square.