Jewish and non-Jewish people alike are invited to attend the lighting of Greenport’s Hanukkah menorah, which is taking place this year on the second night of the eight-night holiday on Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. at Mitchell Park. In the spirit of ecumenism, the menorah will remain lighted throughout the holiday season, sharing the park with the village’s Christmas tree.
Rabbi Gadi Capela of the Congregation Tifereth Israel will lead those attending the ceremony in prayers and songs of the holiday. Scheduled to participate in the Mitchell Park program are Greenport Mayor David Nyce, synagogue president Adrianne Greenberg, and other local dignitaries.
The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, called the Festival of Lights, commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem after desecration by Antiochus IV during the 2nd century BCE. With only enough consecrated oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day, the oil burned for eight days — the length of time needed to press, prepare and consecrate sacred oil.
In recognition of the importance of oil in this holiday, observers prepare and eat foods deep-fried in oil, such as potato pancakes and jelly doughnuts. Other celebrations associated with Hanukkah include playing the Dreidel (a kind of top) Game, exchanging gifts, and giving gelt (money), commemorated by small net bags of gold foil-covered chocolate coins.
For more information about the menorah lighting in Mitchell Park, call the synagogue at 631-477-0232 or Adrianne Greenberg at 631-477-0813.