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Residents celebrate Chanukah
Rabbi: ‘The miracle lives on’
Rabbi Levi Mentz speaks to a crowd gathered at The Collection to celebrate the start of Chanukah and the lighting of the nine-foot-tall menorah. - photo by Alexander Popp

On the third night of Chanukah the Jewish communities of Chabad of Forsyth and Beth Israel met Thursday for the second annual Chanukah at The Collection event. 

Along with food, crafts, music and words spoken by local community leaders, the Jewish community of Forsyth County celebrated the start of Chanukah by lighting the nine-foot-tall menorah in The Collection’s Central Park.

“We are so excited to have the community coming together in unity,” said Levi Mentz, rabbi and co-founder of Chabad Forsyth. 

“You put the smallest amount of light in a dark place, and light has the ability to push away all the darkness,” said Mentz. 

Each attendee at the event was given a candle to light and hold, making it seem like a sea of flickering lights. 

“So really the message about tonight is the power of light,” Mentz continued.    

Another theme of the evening: how grateful the community is for the new Jewish communities’ presence within Forsyth County. 

“It’s a great opportunity to see the diversity as Forsyth County continues to grow,” said Ron Freeman, Forsyth County Sheriff. “The Jewish community has grown by leaps and bounds, they are making their presence known here in Forsyth County and it’s just great to come out and celebrate with them.” 

Freeman was one of the first local officials to speak at the event, but State Sen. Michael Williams and several Forsyth County commissioners took time to talk about the occasion and the community. 

“I hope that the lighting of the menorah tonight shines brightly on your family, your loved ones and on you,” said Commissioner Laura Semanson, speaking to the crowd. 

Three of the giant menorah candles were lit, and food was served, but before the crowd dispersed, Mentz left them with some parting words. 

“We lit this menorah whether it was in Russia under the Communists, whether it was during the Holocaust. From generation to generation back, we found a way to shed light,” Mentz said. 

“The fact that we are all holding a candle right now, in north Georgia, in Forsyth County, the miracle lives on.”