Edmonton lights the Giant Menorah at the Alberta Legislature

On December 10, Chabad Rabbi Ari Drelich and the Edmonton Jewish community gathered with friends and allies to light the Giant Menorah at the Alberta Legislature Grounds.

by AJNews staff

(AJNews) – The Edmonton Jewish Community and friends gathered at the Alberta Legislature on December 10 to celebrate Chanukah and light the Giant Menorah.

The 32nd annual event was once again hosted by Chabad of Edmonton Rabbi Ari Drelich with assistance from the Jewish Federation of Edmonton and National Council of Jewish Women. Edmonton Police Chief Dale McFee was given the honour of lighting the Shamash during the Chanukah Candle Lighting ceremony.

Rabbi Ari welcomed the crowd to the event and explained the significance of Chanukah, Festival of Light. The 8-day festival marks the miraculous victory of the Maccabees, Jewish freedom fighters, who recaptured Jerusalem’s Holy Temple from the Seleucidian Greek occupiers in the year 139 BCE.

Rabbi Ari Drelich was joined by EPS Chief Dale McFee who had the honour of lighting the shamash at the Giant Menorah Lighting in Edmonton on December 10. Also in attendance: Jewish Federation of Edmonton CEO Stacey Leavitt-Wright, Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi and Speaker of the House MLA Nathan Cooper.

It was a joyous celebration that kicked off with an indoor program that included remarks from Speaker of the Legislative Assembly MLA Nathan Cooper, Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi and MLA Lorne Dach. The program also featured performances by the Talmud Torah choir under the direction of teacher Ben Ragosin and a sing-along with entertainer Ben Soros.

Jewish Federation of Edmonton CEO Stacey Leavitt-Wright also welcomed the crowd and thanked everyone for attending. Her remarks included an update from her recent trip to Israel. She said, “Thank you all for joining us today as we come together to celebrate the lighting of the Chanukah menorah, the tallest in Alberta and a close second to the one placed in Sderot on the rubble of what was once the police station.

“Thank you Rabbi Ari for organizing this annual event and for the honour to share a few words on this special occasion. An occasion that feels less festive than years past, when we have 138 hostages who are not celebrating and soldiers who are not with their own families celebrating Chanukah this year, including our former community and staff member many of you know fondly, Tal Toubiana.”

“The lighting of the chanukiah holds deep significance in our tradition,” continued Leavitt-Wright. “Efforts to redefine Jewish identity is what Chanukah heroes, the Maccabees, fought against, overcoming persecution and darkness…Chanukah and Israel cannot be separated, much like the Jewish people and Israel cannot be separated.”

Two weeks ago, the Edmonton CEO and former JFED President Steve Shafir, travelled to Israel with leaders from across Canada, “to a war-torn country in national grief but united in a way I have never seen before, and inspiringly resilient.”

She said, “The unity of the people and their determination to secure the future of the State of Israel while supporting one another is something we strive to emulate with our own community in Edmonton as we go through this difficult time.”

As she stood with the delegation in the aftermath of the massacre, declaring that life and laughter will return to Kibbutz Kfar Azza, as well as other communities across Israel, Leavitt-Wright was proud “that the Canadian Jewish community will be there to help make it so.”

She said, “What further jolted me in that moment, was how important it is that we as Jewish Edmontonians continue to live public and proud Jewish lives in the city our community has called home since Rebecca and Abraham Cristall arrived in 1893.

“Hope and light – It is not lost on me that this week our membership overwhelmingly voted in favour of pursuing a new Jewish Community Centre building, a forward-looking project to secure the future of our community. We are standing in the beautiful rotunda of our legislature, welcoming Chanukah with elected officials and our Chief of Police at our side. We are here with one another, from across the community, to do what centuries of Jews have done before us and will continue to do for centuries to come – light the menorah, spin the dreidel and declare Nes Gadol Haya Sham – a great miracle happened there – and do so with pride.”

Rabbi Ari concluded the program with remarks about the long history of the Jewish people’s connection to Eretz Israel. He then encouraged everyone to go outside for the Giant Menorah lighting – a wonderful sight to behold against the backdrop of our Alberta Legislature Building. Yasher Koach to EPS Chief Dale McFee for lighting the Shamash and to Rabbi Ari for lighting the candles, and organizing such a wonderful event.

Then everyone proceeded to an indoor area beside the plaza for a fraylach party of live music, delicious latkes & sufganiot, kids activities and schmoozing with friends and family. Chag Sameach to everyone!

Be the first to comment on "Edmonton lights the Giant Menorah at the Alberta Legislature"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.