The light of Chanukah has illuminated Eastern Contra Costa County. We are excited to have added Giant Menorahs to City Center of Oakley, Waldie Plaza in Antioch and of course at Brentwood City Hall.
The joy and festivities of Chanukah were celebrated at Brentwood City Hall on Sunday, Dec. 22. There was a large crowd in attendance at the Chabad of the Delta’s Grand Menorah Lighting at City Hall.
Chanukah, a joyous holiday also known as the Festival of Lights, commemorates the Jews’ triumph over Greek oppression nearly 2,200 years ago and the subsequent rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem.
Following the traditional Chanukah greeting of ‘Happy Chanukah’, Rabbi Peretz Goldshmid said the blessing and lit the giant menorah – the nine-branch candelabrum that Jews light each night of Chanukah.
Chanukah, whose dates are set by the Jewish calendar, lasts for eight days, this year corresponding to Dec. 22-Dec. 30.
After lighting the first flame to mark the first night, the Rabbi continued with his inspirational message. “Each night that we add an extra flame, is a reminder that of the need to increase acts of kindness and warmth to make the world a brighter place.” Goldshmid then continued in his usual eloquent style, “When we bring more light and warmness and kindness into the world eight consecutive nights, it is a very special energy.
People joined in singing traditional Chanukah tunes with musical accompaniment.
The crowd partook in traditional Chanukah cuisine, consisting of delicious doughnuts and hot fried potato latkes.
“It’s a family tradition to enjoy Chanukah,” remarked Kayla, who attended with her young daughter Debra. “The crafts, games and awesome fire show ensure this tradition.”
Chanukah, which stems from the Hebrew word for dedication, celebrated the miracle of the oil that had the volume to last one day but instead lasted eight. So too, with the immense dedication of Rabbi Peretz and Mrs. Mashie Goldshmid, Chabad of the Delta is experiencing its’ own little miracle. What was once a dormant Jewish community is now flourishing – the local Jewish community is experiencing tremendous growth. New classes, prayer services and Jewish Kids Club are all up and running.
Of the Antioch menorah lighting, Peretz said “Thank you James Pflueger, Joe, Darrel, Laurie Schwartz and the City of Antioch, California for making the menorah go up. The name Antioch originates from Antiochus of the Chanukah story.”
The annual Jewish festival commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Jews regained control of Jerusalem after overthrowing King Antiochus IV Epiphenes of the Seleucid empire.
This successful event was sponsored by Chabad of the Delta and made possible by generous donations from community members and Hadassah George in memory of her parents Avraham and Miriam Vareed who lived their lives with the message of Chanukah, spreading light and Jewish pride even in the toughest of times.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.