Chabad Okanagan will light a public nine-foot menorah erected at Stuart Park across from City Hall, followed by a community celebration tonight at 5 p.m., the first night of Hanukkah.
The ceremony will feature Mayor Colin Basran, dignitaries and community leaders. Following the menorah lighting ceremony, dancing, singing and a celebration with traditional holiday snacks, a free raffle and more.
The public menorah lightings began in 1973, when the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of blessed memory, considered the most influential rabbi in modern history, launched a worldwide Hanukkah campaign, an effort to create awareness and promote observance of Hanukkah. This year, the global campaign the Rebbe launched will reach an estimated 8 million Jews.
“That we can brighten up the lives of many, many people around us and it will never diminish our own brightness, rather quite on the contrary,” said Rabbi Shmuly Hecht of Chabad Okanagan. “As we celebrate this holiday with our brothers and sisters around the world, we are forever grateful to this country which prides itself with the rights of religious freedom.”
Kelowna’s menorah is one of thousands of large public menorahs throughout the world, including in front of the White House, which attracts some 4,000 people, and near the Eiffel Tower in central Paris, which has attracted as many as 20,000 French Jews, according to a press release.
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