Chabad of Davis invites local residents to celebrate Hanukkah at the lighting of an 8-foot-tall menorah on Wednesday, the fifth night of Hanukkah, on the oak tree deck in Davis’ Central Park. A community celebration will follow. The event runs from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Following the menorah-lighting at the Farmers Market Pavilion, Fourth and C streets, guests will dance, sing and enjoy Hanukkah delicacies, to the accompaniment of live music. Activities for children are planned.
“The menorah serves as a symbol of Davis’ dedication to preserve and encourage the right and liberty of all its citizens to worship God freely, openly and with pride,” Rabbi Shmary Brownstein of Chabad said in a news release.
“Specifically 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 takes on profound significance, embodying both religious and constitutional principles.”
Davis’ is one of thousands of large public menorahs sponsored by Chabad throughout the world, helping children and adults of all walks of life discover and enjoy the holiday message.
Such celebrations include public menorah lightings, giant menorahs made out of ice and Legos, menorah parades, latke parties, giant dreidel houses and “Hanukkah Wonderlands.”
Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, recalls the victory more than 2,100 years ago of a militarily weak but spiritually strong Jewish people who defeated a ruthless enemy that had overrun ancient Israel and sought to impose restrictions on the Jewish way of life, prohibit religious freedom and force the Jewish people to accept a foreign religion.
During the occupation of Jerusalem and the temple, the Syrian Greeks desecrated and defiled the oils prepared for the lighting of the menorah, which was part of the daily service in the temple.
Upon recapturing the temple from the Syrian Greeks, the Jewish people found only one jar of undefiled oil, enough to burn only one day, but it lasted miraculously for eight days until new, pure olive oil was produced.
In commemoration of this event, the Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah for eight days by lighting an eight-branched candelabra known as a menorah. The menorah symbolizes the miracle, with its message of hope and religious freedom to all.
For more information about Hanukkah and a local schedule of events, visit www.chabadofdavis.org/Chanukah.