City Councilman John Chapman with Rabbi Mordechai Newman, the director of Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington and Mayor-elect Justin Wilson in back.
Photo by James Cullum/Gazette Packet
“We dedicate this evening to the 11 souls that were lost in Pittsburgh. We are doing what they would want us to do — to not be afraid and to spread love and light.” —Rabbi Mordechai Newman
A community Chanukah celebration was held Dec. 4 at the Lyceum with Mayor Allison Silberberg and Rabbi Mordechai Newman lighting the city’s largest Menorah to celebrate the Festival of Lights.
“We dedicate this evening to the 11 souls that were lost in Pittsburgh,” said Newman in reference to the Oct. 27 shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue. “We are doing what they would want us to do — to not be afraid and to spread love and light.”
Newman presided over the ceremony, which was hosted by Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington, where he is director. The Festival of Lights celebration included a public kindling of a 6-foot Menorah followed by the singing of traditional songs. Hot potato pancakes and doughnuts, the traditional foods of Chanukah, were served to the crowd.
"We want people to 'taste' the tradition," said Newman, who will preside over ceremonies culminating Dec. 6 with Chanukah on ICE in Pentagon City.
Newman shared the history and tradition of Chanukah and the Festival of Lights.
"In ancient times our ancestors rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem with the Menorah,” Newman said. “Today, we rededicate ourselves to making this world a better and brighter place. Chanukah propagates the universal message that ultimately good will prevail over evil, freedom over oppression and light over darkness.”