Aventura, Golden Beach, Hallandale, Sunny Isles and almost every city in South Florida will this year host a public Menorah lighting. They will join the over 15,000 Public Menorahs set up by Chabad throughout the world, symbolizing the universal message of religious freedom. Today, the unprecedented public display of Chanukah has become a staple of Jewish cultural and religious life, forever altering the American practice and awareness of the festival. Public Menorahs have become commonly displayed at all public venues, including landmarks such as the White House, the Eiffel Tower, and the Kremlin helping children and adults of all walks of life discover and enjoy the holiday message.
Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, begins this year on the evening of Tuesday, December 12 and concludes the evening of Wednesday, December 20. It recalls the victory of a militarily weak Jewish people who defeated the Syrian Greeks who had overrun ancient Israel and sought to impose restrictions on the Jewish way of life and prohibit religious freedom. They also desecrated and defiled the Temple and the oils prepared for the lighting of the menorah, which was part of the daily service. Upon recapturing the Temple only one jar of undefiled oil was found, enough to burn only one day, but it lasted miraculously for eight. In commemoration Jews celebrate Chanukah for eight days by lighting an eight-branched candelabra known as a menorah. Today, people of all faiths consider the holiday a symbol and message of the triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, of light over darkness, and good over evil.
Commissioner Sally Heyman will join us as we ignite a public Chanukah menorah in Highland Lakes on Sunday, Dec 17 at the annual holiday Street Fair. The ceremony will feature numerous performances throughout the day, a circus, rides for the kids, Laser Tag, Game Trucks, Bounce Houses, Face Painting, Music Food, the dedication of a new Torah Scroll and much more!
The menorah serves as a symbol of dedication to preserve and encourage the right and liberty of all citizens to worship G‑d freely, openly, and with pride. Specifically in America, a nation that was founded upon and vigorously protects the right of every person to practice his or her religion free from restraint and persecution.
This year brings added significance as the world marks 50 years since the Rebbe – Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, began the Mitzvah Campaigns, a historic undertaking that brought Jewish observance and celebration to the streets, laying the groundwork for public menorahs and the worldwide Chanukah campaign that he set into motion in 1973.
Parents want their children to grow up with pride in their Jewish heritage and a feeling of equality and self-confident as Americans. Chabad Lubavitch’s Chanukah menorahs are arguably one of the most important developments ever to help a child’s education.
The message of Chanukah is the message of light. 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.
Throughout the sunny State of Florida, Chabad will be presenting scores of Chanukah events and celebrations, including public Menorah Lightings, Giant Menorahs made out of ice, Lego and chocolate, Menorah Parades, Latke Parties, Giant Dreidel Houses,“Chanukah Wonderlands” and more. To find a local event here in Florida, or anywhere throughout the world, visit the international Chanukah event directory at ChabadChayil.org/Chanukah.
Large display Menorahs are available at many online sources and can still get to you in time for the holiday. If you need a menorah or candles for yourself, or need any help celebrating the holiday or finding a large Menorah to display at your place of work, please call your local Chabad or my office at (305) 770-1919. We can also help you plan your own Chanukah event, Menorah lighting or Latke party.
About the author
Rabbi Kievman is the ambassador of The Rebbe to Highland Lakes, FL. He’s founder of CHAP – an afterschool program for Jewish children in Public Schools, rabbi at The Family Shul & together with his wife directs Chabad Chayil. He can be reached at (305) 770-1919 or rabbi@ChabadChayil.org