HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — December 5 marks the 8th and final evening of Hanukkah for the Jewish community this year.

Those at temple B’nai Sholom gathered outside the synagogue for a public menorah lighting.

Different members took turns lighting each candle and reading a passage on what Hanukkah means to the community.

The celebration of lights doubles as a time for reflection on the fight for religious freedom, and a way to celebrate being Jewish, something Rabbi Eric Berk said is especially important to remember now, after Huntsville’s Jewish community has faced 3 instances of vandalism and robbery in less than two years at fellow synagogues, Etz Chayim and Chabad of Huntsville.

“The recent events of hate crime, vandalism and theft — scary and disturbing, unsettling and something we need to stand up against, Rabbi Berk said. “This is one way of doing it by showing our presence here is not diminished, that we are who we are and we’re not ashamed of it, in fact we’re proud of it, we’re proud to be Jewish.”

After the menorah lighting, hosts launched a silent auction. All the money raised will go towards upkeep for the temple.