A public Hanukkah menorah lighting will be held on Dec. 22, the first night of the eight-day holiday.
Chabad Mercer Island will light a public 12-foot Hanukkah Menorah at 5 p.m. at Mercerdale Park. The menorah lighting will be followed by a fire truck chocolate gelt drop, latkes and other holiday treats. This year, Hanukkah begins on Dec. 22 and concludes the evening of Dec. 30
“The message of Hanukkah is the message of light,” Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Nissan Kornfield said in a press release. “The nature of light is that it is always victorious over darkness. A small amount of light dispels a lot of darkness. Another act of goodness and kindness, another act of light, can make all the difference.”
Mercer Island’s public menorah lighting will be one of 15,000 public menorah lightings worldwide, symbolizing the universal message of religious freedom. Throughout the state of Washington, Chabad will be representing dozens of Hanukkah events and celebrations.
The menorah lighting is part of the worldwide Hanukkah campaign, an initiative launched by the Rebbe, Rabbi Manchem M. Schneerson in 1973. The campaign highlights and encourages the central theme of the holiday — publicizing the story of the Hanukkah miracle.
Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of lights, recalls the victory of a militarily weak Jewish people who defeated the Syrian Greeks who overran ancient Israel and sought to impose restrictions on the Jewish way of life and prohibit religious freedom. Jews celebrate Hanukkah for eight days by lighting an eight-branched candelabrum (menorah) nightly.
The celebration is organized by Rabbi Nissan.
“Bring a sweater and come out to the park,” he said. “Come with your family, your friend, come with your pet and really experience something in a new way for the first time. Join in the community celebration… it will be a fun, festive and warm in the heart kind of experience.”