Eight days of Chanukah began Sunday night

Rabbi Peretz Goldschmid of Chabad of the Delta leads the audience in singing Chanukah songs following the lighting of the Grand Menorah in Brentwood City Park on the first night of the annual Jewish celebration. Photo by Allen D. Payton

By Allen D. Payton

Known as the Festival of Lights, the annual Jewish celebration of Chanukah commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Jews regained control of Jerusalem after overthrowing King Antiochus IV Epiphenes of the Seleucid empire.

From History.com: “According to the Talmud, one of Judaism’s most central texts, Judah Maccabee and the other Jews who took part in the rededication of the Second Temple witnessed what they believed to be a miracle. Even though there was only enough untainted olive oil to keep the menorah’s candles burning for a single day, the flames continued flickering for eight nights, leaving them time to find a fresh supply.”

Also spelled Hannukah, the celebration begins at sunset on 25 Kislev and ends at sundown on 2 Tevet or 3 Tevet on the Hebrew or Jewish Calendar. It is being celebrated, this year from Sunday, Dec. 18 through Monday, Dec. 26.

Chabad of the Delta has erected several menorahs in East County, including in Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley and Discovery Bay. The center and first of eight lights of the Grand Menorah in Brentwood were lit by Rabbi Peretz Goldshmid during a Community Chanukah Festival Sunday evening, Dec. 18.

According to Goldschmid, “The name Antioch originates from Antiochus of the Chanukah story.”

Sunday’s grand menorah lighting by Chabad of the Delta was an amazing show of religious pride.

Hundreds of people turned out to the event which was held at City park. The atmosphere was festive, and the mood was joyous. Rabbi Goldshmid led a brief ceremony and lit the menorah as the crowd sang traditional songs.

The hot cocoa and apple cider were a great way to keep everyone warm, and Arron Smith’s original Chanukah wrap was a great way to get everyone in the spirit of the holiday. Most importantly, the menorah lighting was an amazing sight to behold and an incredible reminder of the joy and importance of coming together as a community.

In attendance at the event were Mayor Joel Bryant, City Manager Tim Ogden, Vice Mayor Susannah Meyer, and City Council Tony Oerlemans and Jovita Mendoza. It was wonderful to see the community come out in the cold to celebrate the holiday together.

The crowd was also treated to the talent of artist Andrew Swartz, who led a collaborative painting project that allowed young and old alike to participate. The masterpiece that was created will be showcased in the Delta Art Gallery at Streets of Brentwood.

the grand finale of fire and sword dancers, led by Aaron Zamarron. Wielding a flaming sword, Zamarron captivated the audience as he performed a spectacular routine set to traditional Chanuka music.

The story of Chanukah is a timeless one, filled with hope and courage in the face of persecution. To this day, the Festival of Lights is still celebrated by so many around the world and brings with it the same spirit of unity and joy. As we light the menorah, let us remember the power of faith and the strength of community. May we continue to find joy in the celebration of Chanukah, and may we always be blessed with good health and prosperity. Happy Chanukah!

To learn more about the history behind and meaning of Hanukkah/Chanukah click, here.

Mashie Goldschmid contributed to this report.


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Brentwood Grand Menorah lighting 12-18-22

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