BY BEN ROWE
PLATTSBURGH — Crowds gathered in Trinity Park in Downtown Plattsburgh Thursday evening for a Unity Menorah Lighting organized through the Chabad of Plattsburgh and Temple Beth Israel to mark the first night of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
The holiday honors the ancient driving out of the Greek Seleucids from the Holy Land and the reclaiming of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
With only a single day’s supply of oil to light the menorah then, the oil managed to miraculously keep the menorah lit for eight days.
Rabbi David Joslin of Temple Beth Israel said that the holiday’s theme of Jews standing against an oppressive force resonate especially strongly this year with Israel currenly in a war against Hamas militants in Gaza.
“We feel like we’re under attack — the community in Israel is under attack,” Joslin said. “So in solidarity with the community in Israel, Jews and plenty of non Jews, we’re here today.”
As a light snow fell over Trinity Park, Joslin shared his appreciation for the crowd that turned out for the Menorah ceremony.
“It really warms my heart on this really cold night. Not just from the Hanukkah candles, (but to) see people who are interested, who are curious and want to show their support and love for the Jewish community.”
Leah Gold, wife of Chabad of Plattsburgh Rabbi David Gold, expressed a message of compassion and sensitivity around the holiday.
“It’s about standing with everyone who is in pain,” she said, even in a time of war.
“It’s about being generous in this time and being sensitive to other people’s suffering.”
BY BEN ROWE