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Dan Gilbert spotted at menorah lighting ceremony in Detroit

Evan James Carter
The Detroit News

Detroit — Spotted in the crowd of people gathering in downtown Detroit on Sunday for the annual lighting of the Menorah in the D event was billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert.

Gilbert had a stroke in May and had been undergoing rehabilitation, according to a Detroit News interview with his wife, Jennifer Gilbert, in October.

The chairman and founder of the Detroit-based home mortgage lender returned to Michigan in August after recovering at the Chicago Rehabilitation Institute. 

Dan Gilbert in 2017 file photo.

Part of Detroit's turnaround has been credited to Gilbert's investment in the city's central business district. The Gilbert-owned real estate company Bedrock and its affiliates have invested and committed more than $5.6 billion in its efforts to help revitalize Detroit.

Representatives of Rock Ventures, the parent company of several companies that Gilbert founded or has an ownership stake in, could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Gilbert and "his whole family was (at the event) to celebrate that Nick Gilbert was one of our lamp lighters," Sari Cicurel, public relations representative for Menorah in the D said.

Nick Gilbert, 22, who successfully underwent brain surgery to help with his neurofibromatosis in 2018, was honored for the encouragement he brings to others in the Jewish community, Cicurel said.

Nick,was one of eight people recognized as torchbearers to help light a 26-foot tall menorah set up in Cadillac Square Park in Detroit.   

The steel-and-glass menorah represents the candelabrum on which candles are lit each night of Hanukkah — recalling how after the Maccabees overpowered the restrictive Syrians and worked to rededicate the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, one day’s stock of oil burned eight days.

According to Cicurel, it's "not anything unusual that he would have been there" because the Gilbert Foundation has sponsored the event for nine years.

Josh Sklar, 29, said he was at the event because it was important "to be with the Jewish community and to get the unity that is the Jewish community."

Sklar said he saw Dan Gilbert at the event and "he looked great."

Twitter: @EvanJamesCarter