Public menorah lighting in Manchester Center will mark Hanukkah celebration

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MANCHESTER CENTER>> A public menorah lighting Sunday at Adams Park will mark the celebration of Hanukkah, the eight-day celebration of the Jewish Festival of Lights.

The ceremony, one of just a handful in Vermont and thought to be the town's first, will begin at 4 p.m.

In addition to the lighting of the menorah's eight candles, attendees will be able to sing traditional Hanukkah music, according to Rabbi Menachem Andrusier of Chabad of Bennington County. Both adults and children will enjoy fresh food and treats, he said, adding that anyone is welcome to attend.

"The message of what Hanukkah represents is the victory of light over darkness," Andrusier said this week. "There's a important lesson in that a tiny bit of light can dispel a huge and heavy darkness. Especially now, with what's happening around the world, it's important that each of us increase the amount of good and kindness."

He continued, "We can see all over the world that change is around us and we need to do our best to bring goodness and redemption."

Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication in the 2nd Century, BC of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire.

According to tradition in the Talmud, there was very little oil left in the temple. Even though there was only enough to burn one night, it burned for eight days.

The miracle is celebrated to this day. This year, the holiday began on Sunday, Dec. 6 and ends on Monday, Dec. 14.

Every year during the holiday, the Jewish community holds public menorah lightings around the world. Washington, D.C. has hosted a National Menorah since 1979. The country's largest public menorah is in New York City — it stands at 32 feet and is lit at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street in Manhattan near Central Park. In Vermont, ceremonies are held in Burlington and Saint Albans.

Andrusier said he and his family moved from Crown Heights, Brooklyn to Manchester to strengthen Jewish pride and awareness. His local group, Chabad of Bennington County, is tied to Chabad-Lubavitch, an Orthodox Hasidic philosophy of the Jewish faith.

The ceremony on Sunday will feature a nine-foot-tall menorah, Andrusier said. Andrusier will speak about the message of the lights and give blessings. Attendees will be able to try snacks afterwards, he said -- sufganiyah, the deep-fried doughnut, as well as latkes, or potato pancakes.

Andrusier said his wife and children are excited to be in Manchester.

"We feel privileged to be part of this community," he said.

For more information contact Rabbi Andrusier at 518-506-8678 or visit www.manchesterjewishlife.com.

Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979


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