Hundreds gather in Detroit to celebrate Hanukkah
The story of Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday, centers around a miracle.
Centuries ago, the Maccabees defeated the Syrians, who stifled their religious traditions, then worked to rededicate the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. They could find only one oil vessel, but amazingly, that single day’s supply lasted eight.
To commemorate that feat, Jews across Metro Detroit and around the world light a menorah each evening during the holiday. And on Tuesday, the fourth night of Hanukkah, hundreds gathered in downtown Detroit as a 26-foot-tall steel and glass representative of the candelabrum blazed to life against the darkened skyline.
“It really gives an opportunity for the community to rally around and celebrate this holiday,” said Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov from the Shul-Chabad Lubavitch in West Bloomfield Township, which helped host the gathering along with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, Chabad of Greater Downtown Detroit and sponsors.
The sixth annual “Menorah in the D” attracted a huge crowd to Campus Martius Park. Families, bundled up to ward off the cold, spotted many sights to celebrate the holiday also called “the Festival of Lights”: crafts, face-painting, kosher food, even a fire juggler and a visitor dressed as a blue dreidel.
“It’s a community thing,” said Patricia Ruda of West Bloomfield Township, who attended with her daughter and two young grandchildren. “Last year was our first year. We had so much fun we came back.”
The crowd swelled for the lighting ceremony, which also drew public officials. Dozens stared up as flames flickered atop the massive menorah bathed in alternating blue, green, red and violet lights.
“This is always important to come and celebrate,” said Anita Belle of Detroit.