‘Light up the Night’ Chanukah celebration at Westgate

By: 
CHANA LEW, Chabad of the Northwest Valley

Photo courtesy Chabad of Northwest Valley

A participant helps ‘light up the night’ on the giant menorah at the 2017 event at Westgate.

Westgate Entertainment District, in partnership with Chabad of the Northwest Valley, announces the 8th annual Grand Menorah Lighting at 5.30 p.m. Dec. 5 in Fountain Park.
The family friendly event will feature the lighting of a giant menorah, as well as Jewish music and entertainment along with the traditional holiday foods, including donuts and latkes and a special appearance of “Judah the Maccabee.”
Dignitaries and public officials, including Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers, will be in attendance with a special passing of the torch ceremony for lighting of the glow-in-the-dark menorah.
“Chanukah is a time for celebrating our Jewish values, and the menorah lighting is our pinnacle symbol of faith this time of year,” said Rabbi Sholom Lew, director, Chabad of the Northwest Valley. “We appreciate Westgate’s eagerness to embrace a comprehensive holiday spirit with a Chanukah program that represents unity, light and joy for the entire West Valley community.”
Many activities will be glow-in-the-dark themed to add to the central Chanukah concept of lighting up the darkness, from the glow-in-the-dark menorah to a fire dance show, glow-in-the-dark crafts and holiday treats and of course glow attire for all.
For the Jewish religion, Hanukkah marks the victory of the Jews against ancient Greek-Hellenist persecution and religious oppression some 21 centuries ago. The menorah lighting is symbolic of the oil found in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem following that victory. The small supply of oil burned for eight days, the time needed to consecrate new oil for the sacramental use in the holy Temple.
The eight-day nightly menorah lighting is the heart of Hanukkah, with one candle lit on the first night, two on the second night and so forth until all eight candles are lit. The festival of Hanukkah begins this year after nightfall Dec. 2, and concludes at sundown Dec. 10.
“It’s our desire that our holiday programming, and Westgate Entertainment District as a whole, fully represents people of all beliefs,” said a spokesperson for Westgate Entertainment District. “It’s exciting for us to provide the backdrop to such a meaningful and symbolic event, and we invite people of all faiths to attend not only this menorah lighting, but our entire December line-up of wide-ranging holiday programs.”
As part of the Chanukah outreach campaign, Chabad of the Northwest Valley joins thousands of Chabad centers around the world that stage similar public displays of the menorah and its symbolic lights. From Australia to Africa, Columbia to Hong Kong, New York City’s Ground Zero to the “national Menorah” on The White House Elipse, where this year the vice president will be in attendance. Through these events, hundreds of thousands will experience the joy of Chanukah with Chabad.
Each guest at the menorah lighting will be entered into a grand raffle, with “Dreidels” and “Gelt” for the kids. The event will also include holiday crafts and face painting.
For more information, contact Chabad of the Northwest Valley at 623-272-1529 or iChabad.org. For a full line-up of holiday programming at Westgate, visit www.westgateaz.com/holiday
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