Hundreds attend Chanukah celebrations across Greater Phoenix | Community

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Hundreds attend Chanukah celebrations across Greater Phoenix | Community
Hundreds attend Chanukah celebrations across Greater Phoenix | Community

Hundreds of Jews across the Phoenix metropolitan area celebrated Hanukkah this year by attending a public menorah lighting and / or celebration. Ora Kurland, who has hosted a Hanukkah celebration with Karen Acker at Carefree for the past five years, said the celebration was a chance for local Jews to come together and realize that they are part of something bigger. “The motto of the Jewish social group is, ‘I thought I was the only Jewish person in Cave Creek,'” Kurland joked. The group held a program for each Hanukkah night at the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion in Carefree that included guest speakers, music, food, and raffles. A few hundred people, from young professionals to senior citizens, enjoyed the festivities. Chanukah ran from November 28 to December 5, and public celebrations across the state went smoothly. The event organizers were pleased with the participation of the Jewish community as well as the support from non-Jews. Chabad from Arizona Rabbi Dov Levertov organized, among other things, the Chanukah on the Lawn event at Biltmore Fashion Park in Phoenix. Celebrations included food, entertainment, speakers, and activities for children. “Chanukah is the only Jewish holiday we bring to the streets,” he said. “It really is the message of bringing light into the world and how a small drop of light can illuminate a much larger area of ​​darkness.” Dov Levertov (left) and the Jewish Mayoress of Phoenix, Kate Gallego, stand next to the menorah before they light them on Sunday November 28th. Courtesy of Dov Levertov The first night drew more than 500 people to Phoenix, and more than 2,000 people attended throughout the greater Phoenix area a Chabad Menorah Lighting Nov 28, Chabad from the East Valley Rabbi Mendy Deitsch hosted several menorah lighting events, including a “Giant Hanukkah Extravaganza” at the Pollack Chabad Center in Chandler. He said more than 400 people came. Gilbert’s Chabad Jewish Center Rabbi Shimi Ash hosted lights in Gilbert’s SanTan Village, Queen Creek, and the San Tan Valley said. Around 300 people came to the event at SanTan Village, he said. Menorah lights make known the wonders of Hanukkah and attract the largest crowds of the year. Rabbi Mendy Lipskier of Chabad Lubavitch of Fountain Hills hosted the 11th on November 28th on a specific Jewish holiday or practice, but a Jewish holiday that practically every Jew refers to and feels warmly about the holiday of Hanukkah, ”he said. “We try to make the menorah and holiday celebrations as accessible as possible.” Around 200 people came, which was “a slight increase” compared to previous years. He’s not sure if this is due to a growing Jewish community or the pandemic pent-up desire to be part of community celebrations for young Jews and to remind the Jewish people that it is their job to “serve the nations to be a light, ”he said. “Lighting the menorah in public and celebrating it in public is an amazing opportunity not to be missed,” he said. The holiday came after months of news reports of rising anti-Semitism and polls showing that increasing numbers of Jews feel threatened enough to protect their identities. The FBI recorded the highest number of hate crimes last year since 2008, and the Jewish community was again a major target of religiously motivated crimes Crimes accounted for 57%. The majority of incidents were directed against individuals, 53% were vandalism or property destruction, 33% were intimidation and 10% involved either simple or serious assault. The FBI recorded 19 anti-Jewish hate crimes in Arizona. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that more than 9 in 10 Jews say there is at least “some” anti-Semitism in the United States, including 45% who say there is “a lot”. Slightly more than half of the Jews surveyed (53%) nationwide state that they feel less secure today than they did five years ago as a Jewish person organized in the US, but they do hire security guards just in case. This year’s celebrations marked the eighth year for Levertov, the 24th for Deitsch, the 11th for Lipskier and the 10th for Gilbert for Ash. They are also hiring security guards just in case, although it has been determined that there has never been an anti-Semitic incident. “We only saw support,” said Ash. “There are also non-Jews who come to these events because they are open to the public and people keep telling me, ‘We are here to support,'” he said. Together with other event organizers, he works with city guides and invites them and “they are all very encouraging and supportive of us to run these events and to work with us.” Deitsh said it was important to focus on the pride of “every Jew “Has to focus on celebrating their religion in an open, free, amazing country.” He noticed the support he felt from the state level with road signs on the first night of Hanukkah reading, “Slow down or you’ll like yourself.” make a dreidel. ”“ It’s especially warm and uplifting that, despite what others say, we’re openly displaying positive messages and local Jewish pride around the world, ”said Deitch. An Arizona Department of Transportation traffic announcement relates to Hanukkah. Courtesy of Mendy Deitsch Doug Parcey, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Transportation, said this was at least the second year the agency had released a road safety message related to Hanukkah conversations about safe driving, both in person and on social media , and result in drivers making better decisions at the wheel, ”said Parcey. Lipskier said he was grateful to be living in an inclusive city. “We really needed that at the time. The Jewish community was so excited to come out and celebrate together. It really brought much needed light and hope to our hearts, ”he said. JN

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