9-Foot Menorah Lit

Clayton J. Mitchell Photography    Rabbi Meir Schmotkin of Chabad of Alameda (holding torch) says a few words to mark the celebration of Hanukkah in Alameda last Sunday. Mayor Trish Spencer lit the first candle on the 9-foot menorah shown at left.

Chabad of Alameda celebrates start of Hanukkah

Members of the congregation, city officials and members of the public joined Chabad of Alameda for the lighting of a 9-foot Hanukkah menorah on the waterfront in the Bridgeside Center last Sunday, Dec. 2, the first night of the eight-day holiday. The ceremony, organized by Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Meir Shmotkin, featured a fire juggling show, arts and crafts, food and Mayor Trish Spencer lighting the attending candle.

“The menorah serves as a symbol of Alameda’s dedication to preserve and encourage the right and liberty of all its residents to worship freely, openly and with pride,” said Schmotkin. “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.” 

The menorah lighting is part of the worldwide Hanukkah campaign, an initiative launched by the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, in 1973. The campaign highlights and encourages the central theme of the holiday — publicizing the story of the Hanukkah miracle.

“The message of Hanukkah is the message of light,” said Shmotkin. “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.”

Alameda’s menorah is one of more than 15,000 large, public menorahs sponsored by Chabad in more than 100 countries around the world. This includes in front of landmarks such as the White House, the Eiffel Tower and the Kremlin. The display helps children and adults of all walks of life discover and enjoy the holiday message.

Following the ceremony, the menorah was moved to Redwood Square near Park Street.

For more information about Hanukkah and a schedule of local events, visit www.jewishalameda.com/chanukah.