Archive for Thursday, December 22, 2011

Event celebrates ‘power of light’ through giving

Lawrence mayor Aaron Cromwell holds a candle as a menorah made from cans of food is dedicated outside of City Hall Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011 in downtown Lawrence. Approximately 560 cans of food were collected which will be distributed to pantries throughout Lawrence.

Lawrence mayor Aaron Cromwell holds a candle as a menorah made from cans of food is dedicated outside of City Hall Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011 in downtown Lawrence. Approximately 560 cans of food were collected which will be distributed to pantries throughout Lawrence.

December 22, 2011


At 8 feet long and comprising 560 cans of food, it wasn’t your typical menorah.

“Tonight we celebrate the power of light,” Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel said Wednesday night, as he led a crowd in front of Lawrence City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St., in a menorah-lighting ceremony.

The ceremony marked the second night of Hanukkah.

Local businesses donated cans to the cause, and those cans would be donated to local food pantries, said Tiechtel, of the Rohr Chabad Center for Jewish Life.

According to Jewish religious tradition, Hanukkah marks a victory from around 168 B.C., in which Jewish fighters known as the Maccabees defeated a militarily stronger Syrian-Greek force to reclaim the holy temple in Jerusalem. After reclaiming the temple, the Maccabees set out to burn oil in the temple’s menorah for eight days in order to purify it.

The Maccabees were upset to discover there was only enough oil to last one day. But they pressed on and lit the menorah anyway. Miraculously, it burned for the full eight days.

Tiechtel said Hanukkah was all about having faith that a tiny thing, such as that one day’s worth of oil, could make a big difference. He said the 560 cans of food in the Lawrence menorah would go out into the community and make a difference.

“As we think about those in our community who are suffering, tonight we make a decision that we are going to light just one little can, one little good deed, that will change the world forever,” Tiechtel said.

Lawrence Mayor Aron Cromwell, City Commissioner Hugh Carter and Police Chief Tarik Khatib were on hand for the lighting. Cromwell had the honor of lighting the flame.

“In Lawrence, Kansas, we are what we are because of our tremendous diversity here, and this is a great example,” Cromwell said before lighting the flame.

After the lighting ceremony, Tiechtel invited the crowd to enjoy some traditional latkes and donuts.

“Remember on Hanukkah, there are no calories and no cholesterol,” he joked.


thirdplanet 6 years, 5 months ago

The war on Christmas continues as the politically correct and up their own... leftists choose to put chanuka before the vastly superior Christmas. I thought we were only allowed to say happy holidays.

Only 560 cans of food and you get the Republic of Lawrence almighty ruler's blessing. You should see what my church brings in on a weekly basis.

Plurilingual 6 years, 5 months ago

Nice job mixing valid criticism with trolling.

As someone Jewish, I take issue that this was done on government property. It should have been held at the Chabad House or on some other private property.

There is no War on Christmas... Have you seen all the Christmas decorations and did you attend the Downtown Christmas parade?

Cai 6 years, 5 months ago

Thor forbid that you ever run in to anyone who celebrates Winter Solstice / Yule.

MarcoPogo 6 years, 5 months ago

Wow, third didn't even blame the gays for...well, anything.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 5 months ago

I can only hope that your thinking merely reflects the fact that you wrote it at 1:11am, third. Are you so insecure in your religious beliefs that you feel this threatened by the mere existence of other religious traditions? It is your kind of thinking that leads to wars, so your projections about a war on Christmas are a bit ironic at best.

May you get more sleep and give with a more open heart.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

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art_and_science 6 years, 5 months ago

What a beautiful way to celebrate diversity and give to the needy. I am proud to live in a town that has citizens who fearlessly and openly care for others who may be different from themselves.

lawslady 6 years, 5 months ago

Amen Art and Science. I thank God (by whatever name or religion you believe - or don't) that we live in a land where cultural and religious diversity is tolerated and even celebrated. Those who fear or condemn others evidence their own insecurites and flaws. Oh, and FYI Jesus was Jew - or have you forgotten - who himself celebrated this same holiday!?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 5 months ago

Jesus probably did not celebrate Hanukah, although as with anything else in antiquity, we really can't be sure. It is possible that there was somewhat of a celebration, but if there was one, it was surely one without very much significance.

One thing that is a for sure is that until quite recently (1900s) Hanukah was a minor festival, meaning that it did not have very much importance.

"Why did the Maccabees celebrate an eight-day festival in the middle of the winter? It is generally believed that the guerrilla fighters had been unable to observe Sukkot during their two years of life undercover and the holiday they made on their return to Jerusalem was a sort of belated Sukkot. Regardless, the tradition of eight days of Hanukah lights has lasted to the present. As such, it is Judaism's first post-biblical holiday, one not found in the Tanakh (the Old Testament, except the arrangement of the books is different). The story of the Maccabees is related in the Apocrypha, a series of noncanonical texts."

  • from 'Essential Judaism', by George Robinson page 113

Ken Lassman 6 years, 5 months ago

My guess is that the celebration is much older than that, since the "Festival of the Lights" would suggest that it was built on the much older foundations of the solstice celebrations of the area that preceded Judaism. There are approximately 8 days around the solstice where the days are of equal length and the sun hovers around the southernmost point in its annual trek before it starts heading north again. After all, solstice means "sun stops" and I really suspect that just as the Christians incorporated pagan sacred sites and celebrations into locating Churches and their own religious rituals, so did the Jews.

Aimee Polson 6 years, 5 months ago

As a Christian aetheist wannabe secular Jew, I think that this was great. I only wish that I'd known about it ahead of time so that I could have missed it, but been there is spirit, rather than missing it out of ignorance. Darn.

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