With large crowd holding lit candles at Halcyon on Tuesday, Rabbi Levi Mentz said it was “hundreds of beautiful lights coming together, pushing away the darkness. This is the message of Chanukah.”
On Tuesday, Nov. 30, members of Forsyth County’s Jewish Community came together to celebrate Chanukah at Halcyon complete with the lighting of a 9-foot-tall menorah on the live-work-play center’s green.
“Let me tell you something, you wait an entire year for this holiday to come back again,” said Rabbi Levi Mentz, of Congregation Beth Israel and Chabad of Forsyth County. “It’s been a long 365 days, but finally, Chanukah, the season, the Festival of Lights, when you wait a long time for something, there’s that energy, that passion, that joy. So, ladies and gentlemen, Happy Chanukah!”
Since it was the third night of Chanukah, three candles on the menorah were lit.
The festival lasts eight days and commemorates the rededication of the Temple by the Maccabees after their victory over the Syrians.
Along with the lighting of the menorah, Chanukah was also celebrated through reading blessings, singing songs, lighting candles and enjoying treats such as doughnuts, latkes and “Maccabees” gifts.
“Tonight is Chanukah,” Mentz said. “We have a mitzvah to shine light. The entire world was created for this purpose. Like it says in the Torah, in the beginning, on the very first day, ‘And God created light’ because that’s the beginning and the purpose of it all, to shine light, to make this world a better and a brighter place.
“We ought to find everything we can with all of the resources that we have to be a part of this luminous mission. That’s the celebration of the menorah tonight.”
The event was the sixth annual Chanukah celebration in Forsyth County and the second at Halcyon.
Several Forsyth County leaders attended the event, including Sheriff Ron Freeman and commissioner Alfred John, Todd Levent and Laura Semanson,
“It would be unimaginable for many people to think there would be such a thriving Jewish community in Forsyth County, and it takes the vision of just one or two people to get started, and a small light can shine brightly,” John said.