Madison community lights menorah to celebrate first day of Hannukah

Madison community lights menorah to celebrate first day of Hannukah

Sunday was the first night of Hannukah, and people celebrated in Madison at Hilldale Shopping Mall by lighting the menorah.

After the country recently experienced anti-Semitic hate crimes, this Hannukah was especially momentous for some. Recent shootings in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Poway, California and Jersey City, New Jersey, gave people an even bigger reason to celebrate their heritage.

“The anti-Semitic acts have been terrible and scary, as have been all the acts against religious and ethnic and racial groups,” said Jim Stein, a Jewish supporter at the event.

Last year, people celebrated Hannukah for the first time at Hilldale, but this year’s event was much larger than before. Rabbi Avremel Matusof said in a news release that “an increased number of community members have shared that they will be joining public menorah lightings to express their Jewish pride.”

Even those who are not Jewish, such as Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, attended the menorah lighting as allies.

“The Jewish community in the United States is not going to cower in fear because of a handful of extremists,” said Rabbi Mendel Matusof.

Hannukah is a celebration of peace and light, according to Stein, who said the recent anti-Semitic shootings prove even more why it’s important to celebrate Hannukah.

“There’s a saying in Judaism that all the darkness is really weak and all it takes is a little ray of light to dispel darkness completely, and that’s our job here tonight with Hannukah,” Stein said.

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