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How the community came together to celebrate Hanukkah at Halcyon this year
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Rabbi Levi Mentz stands in front of the 9-foot-tall menorah at the third annual Hanukkah at Halcyon on Tuesday, Dec. 20. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

A large crowd came together at Halcyon on Tuesday, Dec. 20, holding up lit candles to celebrate the third night of Hanukkah.

Rabbi Levi Mentz, with Congregation Beth Israel and Chabad of Forsyth County, kicked off the night by welcoming the crowd to the third annual Hanukkah at Halcyon celebration in front of a 9-foot-tall menorah on the center green.

Thanks to community support and business sponsors, Mentz said Hanukkah is being celebrated throughout north Georgia this year like never before with 15 similar menorahs on display in other parts of Forsyth, Dawson and Lumpkin counties.

This also includes the Forsyth County Administration Building where the Board of Commissioners recently encouraged the celebration of Hanukkah.

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From the left, Rep. Todd Jones, Commissioner Molly Cooper, Rabbi Levi Mentz, Sheriff Ron Freeman and Rep. Lauren McDonald stand in front of a crowd of community members before lighting three candles on the menorah on the third night of Hanukkah. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

“The message of Hanukkah is that light will always be more powerful than however outrageous the darkness is,” Mentz said.

“Life always brings about challenges, and we come together and light the menorah to remind ourselves that good will always be better than evil. Light will always be stronger than darkness. Kindness will always be more powerful than hate. And we come together, and we reestablish this truth and recommit ourselves to the power of light in our own lives and to the world.”

Known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah lasts eight days and commemorates the rededication of the Temple by the Maccabees after their victory over the Syrians.

Tuesday night being the third day of Hanukkah, Mentz invited “local torches of light who every single day dedicate themselves to …. making our area better” to help light three candles on the menorah.

Those local leaders included Commissioner Molly Cooper, Sheriff Ron Freeman and Georgia Reps. Todd Jones and Lauren McDonald. Representatives with the building committee for the Jewish Community Center of North Georgia, Scott Cooper and Joel Hoffman, also helped light the candles.

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Commissioner Molly Cooper tells the crowd how grateful she is to be celebrating the holidays again as she prepares to help light the third candle on the menorah. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

Molly and Scott Cooper who said they were especially grateful to celebrate this year after Molly’s recovery from pancreatic cancer.

“We’re all thankful just for life itself and for being here tonight,” Molly said. “Mazel Tov!”

Mentz said he was happy to see Molly and Scott both at the Hanukkah celebration again.

“We’re witnessing a miracle,” Mentz said. “About a year and a half ago, Molly had an illness that demanded a miracle that is higher than nature to have a recovery, and today, Molly is standing together with our entire team lighting the menorah, a real embodiment of a present-day miracle of seeing the hand of God.”

After the candles on the menorah were lit, everyone held up their candles for a prayer before coming together to sing classic Hanukkah songs.

There were also drawing, craft and face painting stations for kids to enjoy along with doughnuts and latkes. Here are some more photos from the event: