On Sunday night, Dec. 1, the fifth night of Chanukah, a grand Menorah Lighting by Chabad of the Emerald Coast took place at HarborWalk Village in Destin. Men, women and children came together to share the light and warmth of Chanukah.
The “guests of honor” were the children, as Chanukah is considered a time of Jewish tradition and children's education. Mrs Rochel Tenenboim arranged for them a special Chanukah program, with clown, Chanukah activities and gifts. The children had a really good time.
For the adults it was an opportunity to get to know each other, exchange information and feel part of one big community.
And obviously the highlight of the night was the Menorah lighting ceremony, with the original blessings and traditional Chanukah songs.
In my address to the assembly, I explained the meaning of Chanukah in general, and in particular of the fifth night.
“As the miracle occurred in time of darkness, and the darkness was turned into light so too we kindle the Chanukah candles in the night, bringing light into the darkness, and eventually turning it into light, especially on the fifth night, when the light “takes over” and becomes the majority.
I called all participants to increase in their good deeds, as we add one candle each night. For lighting the large Menorah I called Mr. Barry Katz, a long time member and activist in the Jewish community of Destin, who helped to arrange the event. The entire crowd arose and Mr. Katz recited the blessings and lit the Menorah. The thunderous “Amen” from the crowd after the blessing echoed throughout HarborWalk.
For the singing a group of children of all ages climbed on the stage and, with no early preparation or warning, joined the Rabbi with the Chanukah songs. The crowd was invited to attend some of the classes and services that Chabad offers, and left with a good feeling, waiting impatiently for the next Jewish holiday event by Chabad of the Emerald Coast.
In the name of Chabad and the Jewish community of the Emerald Coast, thanks to all those who helped make the event possible.
Shaya (Shayke) Tenenboim is the Rabbi at Chabad of the Emerald Coast in Destin.