By TONIA HILL
For the first time, a Hanukkah ceremony was hosted at Kimbark Plaza, on 53rd Street and Woodlawn Avenue. The ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 27, featured the lighting of the Menorah and celebration for Hanukkah. The Rohr Chabad Jewish Center, 5700 S. Woodlawn Ave., erected the 9-foot tall Menorah.
“We’ve always had a Hanukkah ceremony on the [University of Chicago] campus, but with the holiday so late this year, the students are on break,”said Rabbi Yossi Brackman in a written statement. “We approached Charles Newsome from Kimbark Plaza, and he was very excited to host the Menorah and the event. We really appreciate their welcoming.”
Two years ago, a Menorah was present in the same spot, but there was not an official ceremony to light the Menorah as there was on Tuesday.
“We were delighted there was a lot of positive feedback from when we had it here two years ago, and he [Charles Newsome] thought it would be a great thing for the community and we think so too,” Brackman said.
The Rohr Chabad Jewish Center is a part of the global Chabad Lubavitch network and offers Jewish education, outreach, and social service programming for students at the University of Chicago and the Hyde Park community.
Typically, the Menorah is lit with electric bulbs, but for the event, on Tuesday the Menorah was kindled with a special liquid wax to create a flame.
Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) was invited to attend and joined in on the festivities.
“It’s a wonderful thing it is representative of the Hyde Park community.” Hairston said. “As a community we celebrate all religions…it just shows how different faiths get together to support one another.”
Charles Newsome, president of the Kimbark Plaza, took part in lighting the Menorah.
Brackman said that he is appreciative of the support from Kimbark Plaza.
“It does not matter who we are or what nationality we are we’re all people it’s nothing wrong with just sharing the love,” Newsome said.
Those that joined the ceremony were treated with traditional jelly donuts, dreidels and glow in the dark light up sticks.
“Hanukkah is about freedom which is the core value of the United States of America,” Brackman said. “Hanukkah is also about dedicating ourselves to goodness and to increasing light and goodness in the world..people will hopefully take that message home.”
The festival of Chanukah (Hanukkah), or the Jewish Festival of Lights remembers the rededication of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Hanukkah lasts eight days and this year it began on Saturday, Dec. 24 and will end on Sunday, Jan. 1.
A ceremony is already in the works for next year, according Newsome.