Hundreds gather to celebrate the lighting of a Menorah

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Sunday night a crowd of almost 400 people gathered in Huntsville to celebrate the ceremonial menorah lighting for the first night of Hanukkah.

Chabad of Huntsville, a Jewish organization, held the traditional menorah lighting ceremony at Bridgestreet Towne Centre. Honorary ‘keeper of the flame’ Redstone Arsenal Garrison Commander Kelsey Smith kicked off the ceremony at 5 p.m. by lighting the shamsash candle — Hebrew for servant —  with a propane blow torch.

Commander Smith then lit the first of the 8-night candles on the 12-foot high menorah which is believed to be the largest menorah in all of Huntsville.

This ceremony celebrates the first night of Hanukkah — an eight-day holiday that commemorates the leadership and military victories of the Maccabees of ancient Israel over the Syrian Greeks.

Photo: Howard Ross

People of all faiths gathered to enjoy traditional Jewish music, snack on Yiddish latkes (deep fried potato pancakes), and be entertained by fire juggler “Tom Fuelery”.

There will be a ceremonial lighting for the last night of Hanukkah by the reform Rabbi Eric Berk of Temple B’nai Shalom in Big Spring Park on Sunday, December 9.

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