Cranston officials host annual Chanukah celebration

The Cranston Herald ·

For the past 10 years Mayor Fung has invited Chabad Rabbi, Yossi Laufer and the Jewish community to join in the lighting of the menorah at City Hall.

What has been a traditionally happy celebration throughout history; Chanukah tells the story of the Maccabees overcoming tyranny and witnessing a miracle after their temple was destroyed and the little drops of oil for their menorahs lasted eight days.

Rabbi Laufer invited those in attendance to join him behind the platform to help recite the prayers and make his welcoming statement.

"A few weeks ago eleven people were killed murdered on a Saturday morning in a temple in Pittsburgh. It has weighed heavily on my mind and my heart. What lessons can we learn, what can be done?" he said.

He quoted from the book of Deuteronomy, saying what is a human being? A human being is a candle of God. The candle of God is the soul of a human being.

Laufer went on to explain what does it mean to be the candle of God.

"What does a candle do? A candle gives light. When you light a candle, what happens to the darkness? It disappears. In Jewish philosophy darkness is the absence of light. You want to get rid of the darkness. Human beings have the same power. If we tap into our souls, we can be a beautiful candle that can bring peaceful light to our surroundings," he said.

He went on to praise Mayor Fung for being the leader of Cranston and hosting every year.

"We look forward to coming to Cranston every year. The leader of the community gives off light, and Mayor Fung you are as shining example.  You have great people behind you, you have a beautiful city, with great people. Every year more people come. My wife worries if she has made enough latkes," he joked.

"A lot of thought and generosity goes into the planning for a menorah lighting at City Hall which in the past few years has happily become a tradition for us. Rabbi Laufer always speaks from the heart about something quite appropriate for our times. There was a fairly good size crowd joining in for the festive celebration; lighting the menorah on the fourth night of Chanukah, singing, dancing and of course lots of those yummy potato pancakes that we lovingly call latkes. Finished off with goodies, chocolate gelt, laughter, and celebration made for a wonderful experience," said Cranston resident, Laura Levinson.

Laufer compared politics to the menorah.

"Everyone of us is a candle. It doesn't matter if you are on the left or right side of the menorah, united we stand. Such an important message not to have hate or animosity. With the same, singular goal to bring light to the earth," he said.

Before the menorah was lit and blessings recited, Mayor Fung addressed the crowd.

"As in the past, your message tonight was so apropos to what we are facing as a community, as a country as a society. You mentioned those souls lost in Pennsylvania. Acts of anti-Semitism has no place here. We fight the darkness by lighting the candles and keeping the hate out. Cranston has no home or place for hate or discrimination, we are all lights," he said.

After the candles were lit, blessings said, Rabbi Laufer joined hands with Mayor Fung, Councilmen Ken Hopkins and Michael Farina and danced in celebration of freedom.

"I am always honored to join in the celebration at Cranston City Hall for the lighting of the menorah, especially this year after the tragedy in Pittsburgh and all the senseless shootings across our country, it was a pleasure to come together in peace to celebrate with light and happiness," said Council President, Farina.


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