By Rabbi Yossi Vorovitch
Sunday night marked the first night of Chanukah with the the annual Menorah lighting taking place in Keswick organized by Chabad Jewish Centre of Georgina.
Even the snowy conditions couldn’t stop the hundreds of people in attendance, young and old came to celebrate this joyous holiday with Music, Latkes (potato pancakes), Suvganiot (jelly doughnuts), and even a Chanukah Chocolate coin Gelt drop by the local Georgina Fire Department.
Chanukah is celebrated as a tribute to the heroes of long ago, the Maccabees whose courage and refusal to surrender in the face of terrible and overwhelming odds blazed a trail for the survival of the Jewish people and the freedom to practice the Jewish faith.
The event, which was co-sponsored in memory of Larry Brenner by his family, was highlighted by a holiday greeting from Mayor Margaret Quirk on behalf of the Town of Georgina. As well as greetings from MP Scot Davidson on behalf of the government of Canada.
The lighting began with Mayor Quirk igniting the flame and MP Davidson lighting the middle branch called the Shamash. Dr Noah Turk from the Keswick Kids dental got honoured with reciting the blessing over the First candle, followed by a choir from the Chabad Jewish Hebrew School in Georgina.
I expressed to the crowd that Chanukah symbolizes triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, of light over darkness, and asked that we all bring this light home with us and extend it to our neighbours and even further into our communities. That we offer that light if we see someone in need.