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Light it Right in the Night | Community Spirit

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Light it Right in the Night
Light it Right in the Night

 

A little rain could not damper the glow of the night on Tuesday, December 20th.  Approximately 150 community members braved the rainy, gloomy skies and gathered in the Downtown Woodstock City Park to celebrate freedom, in particular religious freedom.    Chanukah celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of purity over impurity, and of spirituality over materiality. The universal message of Chanukah can be embraced by all.

The 4th annual celebration of light was a joint effort of the Chabad Jewish Center and the local business community and is hosted by the City of Woodstock and the Downtown Development Authority.  An event of this size would not be possible without the support of sponsors including:

·         Peter Gleichman of the law office of Gleichman & Debranski. They provide quality Real Estate, Family, Business, Litigation, and Probate       services.

·         TopStyle Diamonds and the Rubin Family.  TopStyle is a full service jeweler who also buys gold; they are located adjacent to the Applebees at Town Center Mall.

·         John Miller of John Miller CPA.  A full-service accounting and tax firm.

·         Acopia Home Loans-Woodstock. Home financing needs

·         Media Seahorse.  Marketing and social media consulting for small to medium sized businesses

·         Machne Israel Development Fund

·         Michael & Leah Cohen & Family


Food sponsors include:

·         Starbucks of Towne Lake 

·         Trader Joe’s of Roswell

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers and House Representative Charlice Byrd addressed the crowd with warm greetings and wishes for a wonderful Chanukah.  City Council Members Tessa Basford and Bud Leonard attended and were happy to be a part of the annual event.  Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques was unable to attend due to being out of town for a ill family member.  Emcee, Gary Parkes, asked the assembled crowd to keep Donnie and his family in their prayers as the menorah, a symbol of hope, was lit.  Members of the assembled crowd were excited to see the support from our community leaders. County Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens regularly attends the Menorah Lighting but due to a conflict with the regularly scheduled County Commission meeting was unable to attend.  Chairman Ahrens sent a Proclamation in his place and declared December 20th-28th as Chabad Week in honor of the long standing history that the Chabad has of community outreach.

“What is Chanukah?”   Chanukah is the eight day festival of lights that commemorates the reclaiming of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem where it was rededicated to the service of G-d.  More than twenty-one centuries ago, the Holy Land was ruled by the Greeks, who sought to forcefully Hellenize the people of Israel.  Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews, called the Maccabees, defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth. 

When the Jews sought to light the Temple's menorah, they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks; miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.  To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah.  The menorah lighting was instituted as a publicity strategy: advertising to the entire world that G‑d makes miracles for those who stand up for truth and justice.

Rabbi Zalman Charytan, the spiritual leader of the Chabad Jewish Center serving NW Metro-Atlanta delivered a special Chanukah message of hope.  Rabbi Zalman then led the group in prayer and the lighting of the Grand Menorah, which stands 10 feet tall.  Following the lighting, all the children and adults with a sweet tooth were invited to come forward by Rabbi Zalman for the traditional Chanukah Gelt, which in this case was gold wrapped chocolate coins. The community was then invited to enjoy complimentary hot chocolate, latkes, and donuts.

For more information, visit their website at www.JewishWoodstock.comor www.Facebook.com/JewishCenter.  The Chabad Jewish Center has a brand new location off Wade Green Road which will allow them to further serve the community. 

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