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The Festival of Lights Public Menorah Lighting in Downtown Tacoma

Published by Darren Bushlen

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TACOMA, Wash. – The Chabad of Pierce County hosted the 7th Annual Public Menorah Lighting on December 5, 2019, the fifth night of Chanukah. The Jewish community gathered outside the Pantages Theatre on the corner of S. 9th and Broadway as Tacoma city officials assisted in the lighting of the menorah.

Leading the celebration, Rabbi Zalman Heber of The Chabad Jewish Center began by discussing Chanukah and miracles, both miracles of the past and miracles yet to come. He left everyone with a reminder that Chanukah is a time to “let us hope and pray we can transform this world into peace and light,” a time to pray for the healing of the sick and injured, and a time for bringing miracles to those in need.

Tacoma City Officials Speak at Menorah Lighting

Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, Sheriff Paul Pastor and Tacoma Council Member David Boe attended the public menorah lighting. Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, speaking on behalf of Pierce County stated, “We are honored to have the international Chabad-Lubavitch in Pierce County.” McCarthy was presented with an oil jug shaped menorah on behalf of the Jewish community.

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor spoke of the dedicated and righteous people who are committed to the community and perform miracles every day.

Council Member David Boe attended the event on behalf of Mayor Marilyn Strickland who was out of town and unable to attend this year. Rabbi Heber presented Boe with a traditional menorah to display in the office in support of Tacoma’s Jewish community.

Lighting the Public Menorah in Downtown Tacoma

Individual candles were passed around to all who attended. Every man, woman and child held a lit candle as the Chanukah blessings were sung. With the help of Rabbi Heber, Council Member David Boe lit the Shamash of the public menorah in front of the Pantages Theatre.

The lights of the menorah were kindled – one for each night of Chanukah. By mistake, the fifth candle was missed, which Rabbi Heber promptly lit during the singing of Maoz Tzur. As is tradition, the men, including Council Member David Boe, danced and sang around the lit menorah before taking the celebration indoors.

Indoor Chanukah Celebration and Concert

Following the outdoor menorah lighting, members of the Jewish community continued their celebration indoors with the lighting of the tallest canned food menorah in the Pacific Northwest. The hundreds of canned food items collected for building the menorah will be donated to food banks throughout Tacoma and Seattle.

Families and friends gathered for a kosher dinner of hot dogs, bagels and lox, latkes and doughnuts during a live concert by the Od Yishama Orchestra. Good food, great music and remembering miracles past, present and future concluded the annual Chanukah celebration.

Photos ©Malysa Stratton Louk. All rights reserved. Photos may not be copied, borrowed, altered or reproduced in any way, either electronically or in print, without prior written permission from the copyright holder.

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