A festival of lights
Town Center hosts Menorah lighting
by Al Sullivan
Reporter staff writer
Dec 28, 2011 | 3121 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
COMMUNITY SUPPORT – Municipal, business, and religious leaders routinely attend the Festival of Lights ceremonies. Pictured here are Mary Divock, Rabbi Clifford B. Miller, Pat Murphy, and Mayor Mark Smith.
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With temperatures more suited to early fall than to the beginning of winter, residents and officials gathered at The Networking Café on Dec. 20 to celebrate the Festival of Lights, part of an eight-day Jewish tradition commonly associated with Hanukkah.

Rabbi Clifford B. Miller from Temple Emanu-El lit the Menorah along with the children from the Jewish Community Center and Mayor Mark Smith. The children also sang a number of Hanukkah songs under the direction of Sandra Gonzalez and her staff. Many in the Jewish community turned out for this wonderful celebration.

“We would like to thank Mayor Smith for joining us that night, and also thank Ellen Goldberg of the Jewish Community Center for all her help,” said Mary Divock, executive director of the Town Center Management Corporation. “We would also like to thank David Jiji of The Networking Café for hosting this event and for providing all of the coffee, tea, and cookies.”
Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem
In the past, the ceremonies have been held in different locations, including Bayonne Community Bank and even the offices of the Town Center. But for the last three years – partly because of increased interest and attendance – the ceremony has been held at The Networking Café because of its larger space.

Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Jews revolted against harsh Syrian-Greek rule in the second century BCE (Before Common Era).

There are several songs associated with the festival of Hanukkah. The most well known in English-speaking countries include “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” and “Hannukah, O Hannukah.” In Israel, Hanukkah has become something of a national holiday.

Although Hanukkah is often closely associated with the non-Jewish holiday of Christmas, it is not a “Sabbath-like” holiday. During Hanukkah, people go to work and schools remain open (although many gather just before sunset on each of the eight nights to light the menorah and recite blessings and sing). It is tradition not to do any schoolwork or housework while the candles are burning.

In many cases, the candles – when they are used – are made to last at least 30 minutes. Traditionally, the candles are lighted just after sundown.

From the second night on, people often gather to exchange gifts and eat foods baked with oil – tasty dishes Rabbi Miller claimed his doctor said might also be bad for his health.

The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukah. One additional candle is lit on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night.

For more information about the Bayonne Town Center and its events, call the BTC at (201) 339-9409, visit www.bayonnetowncenter.com, or Facebook search “Bayonne Town Center.”

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