“The lighting of the menorah serves as a symbol and a message of a triumph of freedom over oppression and the power of light over darkness,” said Newman, who presided over the ceremony.
Hosted by Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington with assistance from the City of Alexandria, 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 Hanukkah, were served to the crowd which was limited in size due to ongoing pandemic concerns.
Newman shared the history and tradition of Hanukkah and the Festival of Lights, which is celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods.
“The lighting of the menorah serves as a symbol and a message of a triumph of freedom over oppression and the power of light over darkness.”
— Rabbi Mordechai Newman
The Hebrew word Hanukkah means “dedication” and the observance is named because it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem following the defeat of the Greek army by a small and outnumbered group of Jews in the second century BCE.
“The flame of the Hanukkah menorah flickering in the darkness of a cold night has a special and timely message this year as we are still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Newman said. “The Hanukkah lights remind us to never give up. The world around us may be dark, we may be experiencing challenges from within, but in the end light is stronger than darkness and having a positive and optimistic attitude will prevail over negativity.”