Archive for Monday, December 10, 2007

Lighting up South Park

About 50 people brave frigid weather for a public celebration of Hanukkah

Sophia Minder, 7, left, Vicki Penner, center, and Joseph Minder, 7, read blessings before the lighting of the menorah at South Park. About 50 people attended the event, organized by the Chabad Jewish Center.

Sophia Minder, 7, left, Vicki Penner, center, and Joseph Minder, 7, read blessings before the lighting of the menorah at South Park. About 50 people attended the event, organized by the Chabad Jewish Center.

December 10, 2007

Advertisement

Menorah lighting celebrates Hanukkah, community

Lawrence's Jewish community celebrated Hanukkah with a ceremonial menorah lighting at South Park Sunday evening. About 50 people braved the chilly weather to sing songs, pray and enjoy traditional Jewish food. Organized by the Chabad Jewish Center, the event was meant to celebrate not only Hanukkah, but also the community. Enlarge video

Chabad center lights city menorah

The city's largest menorah shines brightly in South Park. The first annual lighting ceremony hosted by the Chabad Jewish Center kicked off at six this evening. Enlarge video

Miles Schnaer, right, of Lawrence, lights a 6-foot menorah with Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel of the Chabad Jewish Center in celebration of Hanukkah.

Miles Schnaer, right, of Lawrence, lights a 6-foot menorah with Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel of the Chabad Jewish Center in celebration of Hanukkah.

The mercury might have dropped below freezing Sunday evening, but Lawrence's Jewish community was warmed by a ceremonial menorah lighting at South Park.

About 50 people gathered at the park, singing traditional songs and saying prayers as the 6-foot-tall menorah was lit in celebration of Hanukkah, which began Tuesday.

Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel, of the Chabad Jewish Center, 1203 W. 19th St., said the public celebration was significant.

"For so long, Jews had to light the menorah in basements," hidden from view, he said. Tiechtel said the freedom to practice Hanukkah traditions was priceless.

"One candle can bring a lot of light," he said. "The lights we have in this world can light up the darkest and coldest nights."

The ceremony began with words from dignitaries from around the state, including City Commissioner Boog Highberger, County Commissioner Charles Jones and state Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence. It concluded with Tiechtel inviting attendees to enjoy latkes and warm apple cider. The menorah lighting was organized by the Chabad Jewish Center, but Tiechtel said members of the Lawrence Jewish Community Center participated. He welcomed people of all faiths to the park.

Lawrence resident Roman Lislitsyn and his wife braved the cold because they were curious about the menorah lighting.

"My wife and I decided to see what it looks like," he said. "We wanted to be involved a little bit in a Jewish cultural event."

Apart from being cold, Topeka resident Lauren Worcester was glad she made the drive to Lawrence. It was the first time she had seen a public lighting of a menorah.

"Not only does it remind you of the miracles God makes in your own life every year, but (it also reminds you) about the miracles that he created many, many years ago," Worcester, who came with her mother and two younger brothers, said.

For Gail Zukav-Ross, the public lighting held special meaning. It was only the second time such an event has taken place in Lawrence, and Zukav-Ross, who helped light one of six candles on the menorah, said it was important for Lawrence's Jewish community to celebrate the season amid numerous Christmas events in the city.

"It's very much to support the community," she said. "It's just a recognition of what the season means to Jewish families."

Comments

anneht 7 years, 4 months ago

And no one protested!!! Lawrence is a pretty good place to live, all said and done....

Commenting has been disabled for this item.