Friday, December 14, 2018
Giant Menorah Lighting to Symbolize Religious Freedom
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While the Wood River Jewish Community will celebrate Chanukah on Sunday, Dec. 9, a giant menorah will be lit in the Ketchum Town Square on Thursday, Dec. 6.
 
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

A six-foot menorah will be lit at Ketchum Town Square followed by a community-wide celebration on Thursday, Dec. 6.

The ceremony, which takes place from 5 to 6 p.m., will be performed by Rabbi Mendel Lifshitz, of Chadbad Lubavitch of Idaho.

He will be joined in the ceremony by leaders of the Wood River Jewish Community, Mayor Neil Bradshaw and other local officials.

Following the lighting, those assembled will dance, sing and eat latkes and donuts, which are traditional Chanukah foods. And there will be chocolate Chanukah gelt and dreidels for the children.

Last year’s event—the first in the Wood River Valley—was a big success, said Lifshitz.

“It is an opportunity for the entire community to come together in celebration of shared values and culture,” he added.

Thursday is the fifth night of Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights. The eight-day observance recalls the Jewish people’s victory more than 2,100 years ago over the Syrian Greeks, who had prohibited religious freedom, forcing the Jewish people to accept a foreign religion.

The Greeks had defiled the oils prepared for the lighting of the menorah, an eight-branched candelabra which serves as a part of the daily service in the temple. When the Jewish people recaptured the temple, they found one jar of undefiled oil. It was enough to burn for just one day but it miraculously lasted for eight days until new pure olive oil could be produced.

“The menorah serves as a symbol of religious freedom,” said Lifshitz, whose organization is located at on Maple Grove Road in Boise. “Jews, many centuries ago, needed to fight for that liberty. Today it is offered freely in our blessed country, the United States of America. And we should never take it for granted. The menorah serves as a reminder to the ideals that we so deeply cherish. Its tradition is Jewish; its message, universal.”

The menorah lighting ceremony is one of several that Chabad Lubavitch of Idaho is sponsoring in Idaho. Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and other dignitaries participated in one at the Idaho State Capitol in Boise on Tuesday.

Chabad sponsors thousands of large public menorah displays and lighting s throughout the world each year.

 

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