Special to Fayette Newspapers

A big crowd flocked to Peachtree City’s City Hall on Sunday night to celebrate the holiday season and light the Menorah. The ceremony coincided with the sixth night of Hannukah and was led by a blessing from Rabbi Yossi Lew (right) of Chabad of Peachtree City, with school board member Leonard Presberg (above) lighting the menorah’s candles. Chabad served latkes and donuts and band members from Fayette County High School performed traditional Chanukah music for a crowd from throughout the state. (Staff Photos by Christopher Dunn)

Close to 200 people assembled on a chilly Sunday night in front of Peachtree City’s City Hall. It was the sixth night of the Jewish holiday of Hannukah, and, by the time the evening was over, much warmth was in the air.

The event was organized by Chabad of Peachtree City, a local Jewish organization that provides holiday awareness, social and religious programming to the Jewish community around Atlanta’s Southside, and welcomes all people from all backgrounds and faiths through its doors.

The holiday of Hannukah commemorates the victory of a small band of Jewish people over the mighty Greek armies, over twenty-two millennia ago, in the ancient land of Israel. After they entered the Holy Temple, only one cruise of uncontaminated oil was found with which to light the Temple’s Menorah, its elaborate candelabra. The oil miraculously lasted for eight days, until new oil was created. The holiday is therefore commemorated by kindling one additional light each night, until all eight nights are completed.

“The Holiday of Hanukkah,” said Rabbi Yossi Lew, Rabbi and director of the organization, “reflects the triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, of light over darkness.”

In his remarks prior to the Menorah’s lighting, the Rabbi asked of each participant, Jewish people and non-Jewish people alike, to take the message of the light back home. If each person were to radiate more light and love, deepen his or her friendship, kindness, and generosity, and spread harmony and good ethics among friends and family, then each person becomes a candle in the world’s “Menorah.”

“Dare to shine, dare to love, and dare to believe in peace,” concluded the Rabbi.

Leonard Presberg, a member of the Board of Education of Fayette County, was honored with kindling the six lights. In his remarks, Presberg emphasized how members of different religions, cultures, and countries had all assembled to be witness to illumination and light. In a similar vein, our work in Fayette County involves reaching out to every single child, regardless of prior history, and bringing out his or her light, talent, and ability. The child will thus shine bright in the world’s Menorah.

After kindling the Menorah, Anthony Weaver (bassoon) and Jordan Howard (oboe) joined a pianist to play Hanukkah tunes, while the children went on to fun activities. Adults were treated to Hanukkah treats, such as hot Latkes and doughnuts, plus hot coffee and chocolate, sponsored by the local Starbucks and Fresh Market.

Chabad of Peachtree City is open to all people from all backgrounds. Their website is: www.chabadsouthside.com. The Rabbi can be reached at: rabbi@chabadsouthside.com