Successful 2nd Chanukah Held at Centennial Plaza
By Rabbi Avrohom Dyce
It was a historic night for Sandy. For the second time in history, a special celebration of Chanukah was held in Centennial Plaza with some seventy people from all different walks of life participating.
The event featured the lighting of a giant twelve foot Menorah, prayers, Jewish music and chanukah treats like kosher donuts and chocolate coins.
Rabbi Avrohom Dyce, who put on the event, shared that this year the world was in a big need for the message of Chanukah - to strive to grow in spiritual light and kindness and the belief that G-d answers our prayers.
Rabbi Dyce directs the Gresham Chabad Jewish Center, that provides programming for Jewish people living east of Portland, including Sandy and the Mountain community.
The Rabbi shared that many local Jewish people had expressed their appreciation for his activities.
“Most of the people we have met shared that they thought they were the only Jewish person in the area and they are happy to have found other Jewish people to celebrate Shabbat and Jewish holidays with,” Rabbi Dyce said. Until recently the closest Jewish center was to be found in Portland, a “schlep” of forty-five minutes or more which made it difficult for many to be engaged with the Jewish community, especially the elderly and those with young children.
He said he was pleasantly surprised by the big crowd that came out, and shared that he heard from participants that they had come especially to show their support for the Jewish people at this time when antisemitism has been on the rise.
Participating in the event was Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam who was honored to light the Shamash, the center candle of the Menorah. Mayor Pulliam shared with the crowd how honored Sandy is to be hosting this event and how important it is to show solidarity with the Jewish people at this time in history.
The public lightings began in the 1970s, spurred by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson. Since then more than 5,000 large public menorahs are lit every year across more than 100 countries. Lightings take place in front of landmarks like the White House, the Eiffel Tower, the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai and now the Sandy Centennial Plaza.
The Rebbe explained that lighting the Chanukah menorah is a “symbol and message of the triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter and of light over darkness.”
Dyce can be contacted for more information about Jewish activities in Sandy and Welches at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-389-0312.