The first Hanukkah candle was lit on Sunday in Monroe Township, New Jersey, making it the largest menorah in the state.
The spectacular menorah lighting at State Park was held for the 21st time this year. All throughout the world, Jews lit the first candle to mark the beginning of the Festival of Lights.
Just before sundown, the community’s top dogs were hoisted 30 feet into the air to light the first of the menorah’s eight candles.
Public menorah lightings “just became common place in the last few decades,” said Rabbi Eliezer Zaklikovsky of the Chabad Jewish Center of Monroe.
“It takes the spirit of the holiday to the outdoors, and sends that light and that warmth into our hearts and into our homes,” he added.
This holiday commemorates the triumph of good over evil, the triumph of light over darkness, and the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days.
“That’s the reason for celebrating Hanukkah. We can see the oppression of not having religious freedom thousands of years later, and we can celebrate the miracle of lights today, which actually says we’re here to inform everyone that religion shall be free “Millstone Township’s William Reinholtz put it best.
The community’s leaders have described it as a “miracle” that represents more than simply the oil, but the triumph of the minority against the majority.
Religious freedom in the United States is not something that is simply accepted and cherished, and Zaklikovsky believes that this lesson reflects that.
The largest menorah in the state is a duplicate of the 30-foot menorah lit at sunset in the nation’s capital.
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Concerns about the surge in antisemitic crimes, including the recent attack on all New Jersey synagogues and temples, were voiced as Jewish people gathered to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah.
“There is no doubt that we are keeping a closer eye out and have tightened up on security. Constant communication with local law enforcement, who have been incredibly supportive and on our side, “To which Zaklikovsky contributed.
More than 2,700 incidences of antisemitism were reported to the Anti-Defamation League in 2016, with over 400 of those occurring in the state of New Jersey.
Council Member Miriam Cohen stated, “The mayor and the council have been talking informally, expanding the role of our human relations commission.” “In order to start educating and informing the world about all of us,” we write.