ST. GEORGE — For the first time in St. George, a 12-foot tall menorah will be placed in the Town Square Park and lighted in observance of Hanukkah.
The menorah is sponsored by the Jewish Chabad Center of St. George and will be lighted Dec. 9 beginning at 4:30 p.m. Festivities will follow.
“The message of Hanukkah is the message of light,” Rabbi Mendy Cohen, the event’s organizer, said. “The nature of light is that it is always victorious over darkness. A small amount of light dispels a lot of darkness. Another act of goodness and kindness, another act of light, can make all the difference.”
Beginning this Dec. 2 and carrying through Dec. 10, the eight days over which Hanukkah is observed represent a time in 168 B.C. when, according to Jewish tradition, the Jewish people rebelled against the efforts of Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes’ to abolish Judaism.
More details surrounding the events that form the foundation of the Hanukkah holiday were shared in a press release from the Jewish Chabad Center:
It recalls the victory of a militarily weak Jewish people who defeated the Syrian Greeks who had overrun ancient Israel and sought to impose restrictions on the Jewish way of life and prohibit religious freedom. They also desecrated and defiled the Temple and the oils prepared for the lighting of the menorah, which was part of the daily service.
Upon recapturing the Temple only one jar of undefiled oil was found, enough to burn only one day, but it lasted miraculously for eight. In commemoration, Jews celebrate Hanukkah for eight days by lighting an eight-branched candelabrum known as a menorah. Today, people of all faiths consider the holiday a symbol and message of the triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, of light over darkness.
Additional information about Hanukkah can be found at the Chabad of Southern Utah website.
Cohen said the menorah lighting in St. George serves as a sign of the city’s dedication to preserve liberty and religious freedom.
“This is true especially in America, a nation that was founded upon and vigorously protects the right of every person to practice his or her religion free from restraint and persecution,” Cohen said.
St. George Mayor Jon Pike, who will attend the menorah lighting, said the menorah as a symbol of light was not lost on him.
“I think we can all identify with that,” he told St. George News, adding, “I really appreciate the growing Jewish community in our area.”
He also said it’s great to have the opportunity to learn and share in other cultures.
St. George’s menorah is one of more than 15,000 large public menorahs sponsored by Chabad in more than 100 countries around the world, including in front of landmarks such as the White House, the Eiffel Tower and the Kremlin, according to the press release.
About the sponsoring organization
The Chabad Jewish Center of St. George and Southern Utah offers Jewish education, outreach and social service programming for families and individuals of all ages, backgrounds and affiliations.
- What: Hanukkah menorah lighting.
- Where: St. George Town Square, 50 S. Main St., St. George.
- When: Sunday, Dec. 9, at 4:30 p.m.
- Admission: Free
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