Congressman Dana Rohrabacher joined Rabbi Reuven Mintz of the Chabad Jewish Center to light the Fashion Island Menorah in the Atrium Garden Court last Sunday.
The celebration began with a musical performance by a group of young special needs teens from the Friendship Circle, followed by the lighting of the huge Menorah by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.
Participants enjoyed gifts and treats, Chanukah crafts, face painting, and balloon animals. Participants were encouraged to bring along a gift for the community toy drive and distribution to underprivileged children, making deserving children’s holiday that much brighter.
Chanukah, a celebration for all time, is highlighted by the kindling of the Menorah each night of the Holiday.
“It is a holiday that enriches our lives and strengthens our tradition,” said Rabbi Mintz. “In ancient times, our ancestors rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem. Today, we rededicate ourselves to making this world a better and brighter place. Chanukah also transmits the universal message that ultimately good will prevail over evil, freedom over oppression and light over darkness.”
“This year Chanukah coincided with Thanksgiving which I believe hasn’t happened since 1888. It’s very exciting,” added Rabbi Mintz. “Thanksgiving has a lot to do with Chanukah. Thanksgiving comes packed with a deep narrative about a challenging journey to escape religious persecution for freedom in a new land, the establishment of a democratic charter, and a sense of divine providence that carried refugees to a new land away from their plight.”
“That’s the story of Chanukah as well,” he continued. “The narrative is deeply embedded in the collective Jewish psyche about how the Jews fought back against religious oppression in ancient Israel to earn our freedom. In a very profound way, Thanksgiving and Chanukah are deeply connected, and the combined focus reminds us of all we have to be grateful for in this land of promise and liberty.”