by AJNews staff
(AJNews) – Despite Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek deciding not to attend the 35th Anniversary Calgary Community Menorah Lighting, the December 7 Chanukah celebration at City Hall, hosted by Chabad Lubavitch of Alberta, was bigger and better than ever.
Senior Rabbi and Executive Director of Chabad Lubavitch of Alberta, Rabbi Menachem Matusof opened the evening to thank “each and every one of you for coming and expressing our joy and happiness in celebrating Chanukah.” He said that to introduce the evening he wanted to make it clear “that this is not a demonstration, this is not violent, this is not darkness. This is light, this is life. This is a peaceful celebration of Chanukah with a message of unity and Jewish pride. We’re proud to be Jewish, we’re proud to support our community – young and old. We’re proud to support Israel, our Holy Land. This is what Chanukah is about so please relax and enjoy our celebration of Chanukah.”
The program featured delightful performances from the Calgary Jewish Academy Choir and the Halpern Akiva Academy Choir. They were followed with a public recognition of community leaders and dignataries who have had a positive impact on the Jewish community of Calgary.
Rebbitzin Rochel Matusof then introduced the honourees for the menorah lighting – Nelson and Debbie Halpern – with Minister of Jobs, Economy and Trade MLA Matt Jones lighting the shamash.
Following the menorah lighting, Calgary Jewish Federation President Lisa Libin and past co-president Jordan Balaban wished the crowd a happy Chanukah and shared some information about their recent trip to Israel. Remarks were also given by delegates from all sides of the political spectrum including federal MPs, provincial MLAs and a number of city councillors. The address by MP Michelle Rempel, who accompanied Libin and Balaban on their recent trip to Israel was particularly moving and supportive. She was followed by remarks by MP Shuvaloy Majumder whose words touched everyone in the crowd to their core as the voice of a loving and truly empathetic ally.
The evening program was followed by a wonderful family celebration with latkes, activities for children, live music and more. Click here to view the 35th anniversary Calgary Community Menorah Lighting at City Hall.
“With over 1,200 in attendance, we wish to thank Chabad of Alberta and all of our community and external supporters for making the evening a success, we all truly showed that the light will always overcome the darkness,” said Calgary Jewish Federation.