Nothing like the warmth of the Chanukah menorah on a cold Merrick night.
Members and students at Congregation Ohav Sholom gathered to light things up on Monday, the sixth night of the Jewish holiday. Along with celebrating the Festival of Lights, the night was special because of the menorah itself, as this was the first time it was lit and displayed out front for all to see.
The aluminum menorah stands seven feet tall, and was donated to the temple last week by longtime member Dr. Ari Jermann and his family. It was lit the old fashioned way–with fire (no plastic electric menorah here, folks).
"This year we said we want to make something big and show the whole community how proud we are of the holiday, and what kind of family we are [at the temple]," says Rabbi Ira Ebbin.
The crowd huddled together in the cold to witness the inaugural lighting, among them, County Legis. Dave Denenberg, D-Merrick, who says the holiday spirit comes through, no matter how far the temperature drops.
"There always are miracles to be thankful for," Denenberg says. "It's a great opportunity to be with your family, friends, fellow congregants and the greater community."
Indeed, Chanukah is all about miracles, going back to the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabees defeated the Syrians. Thought to contain only enough oil to burn one night, the menorah burned for eight. Rabbi Ebbin says everything we do can be summed up in miracles. Being born, healthy, our family, and on down the line.
"[The menorah] represents that miracles happen everywhere," Ebbin says. "The miracle of the lights that happened 2,300 years ago was just a reminder to the whole Jewish community that the war was a miracle."
The kids of the Ohav Sholom Hebrew School joined in the fun, and according to sixth grader 'Jacob', while some sum up the holiday with the word 'miracle', he sums it up with another word.