Despite the rain, a dedicated group gathered Sunday night to light a menorah in Atlantic City, celebrating the second night of Hanukkah.
Also known as the festival of lights, the eight-day Jewish holiday celebrates two miracles: the victory of a small Jewish army over the Syrian Greeks, and the unexplained occurrence of one day’s worth of oil allowing a menorah to stay lit for eight days.
On Sunday, Rabbi Avrohom Rapoport of the Chabad at the Shore in Ventnor led the lighting of an outdoor menorah at Tanger Outlets The Walk. There, a modest group of about a dozen people gathered for the lighting. Rapoport joked that lighting a menorah in the rain could be considered the third miracle of the holiday.
While the outdoor menorah is electric, Jews still traditionally light a candle for ceremonies to represent the tradition. That became difficult as rain started just in time for Sunday’s ceremony.
“Every night of Hanukkah, we add another flame,” Rapoport said. “The message is that we can always increase the amount of light, the amount of kindness, and goodness, and love.”
The holiday began Saturday night. Many Jewish families celebrate by lighting menorahs in their own homes each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. The light represents the good deeds that God calls for.
Kathy Huffard, of Egg Harbor Township, said she usually celebrates the holiday by lighting a menorah at home with her two teenaged children, Allie Horn and Jake Horn. On Sunday, however, the trio ventured out to the menorah lighting at The Walk before celebrating Jake’s 15th birthday with dinner at P.F. Changs at Tropicana Casino and Resort.
“We’d never been to this lighting before. I thought we’d do something different this year,” Huffard said.
Ceremonies to light public menorahs are taking place throughout the area. Sunday afternoon, Rapoport was at the Shore Mall on the Black Horse Pike in Egg Harbor Township for a lighting and magic show that drew about 100 people, he said. On Wednesday, another lighting takes place at 5 p.m. at the Ventnor branch of the Atlantic County Library.
Rapoport tries to incorporate children into the ceremonies by asking them questions about the meaning of Hanukkah and inviting them to sing. Rapoport’s 4-year-old daughter, Chava Ella Rapoport, led the popular Hanukkah song “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” at Sunday night’s lighting.
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