Columbus residents begin Hanukkah celebrations

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – It’s night one of the Ancient Festival, Hanukkah. The first candles are lit as Menorahs shine through the windows of Jewish households celebrating the first night of Hanukkah.

Many Jewish Faith Leaders said it’s all about community and that the meaning of Hanukkah is more relevant now, than ever before.

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“Hanukkah is about light, overcoming darkness. Darkness is an absence of goodness. Our response to everything going on in the world is to light a flame, a flame of hope, a flame of love, and a flame of freedom,” said Rabbi Areyah Kaltmann, of Chabad Columbus.

Hanukkah is the festival of freedom. Jewish Faith Leaders said it’s relevant because we all need an opportunity to practice our religion. Which, many Jewish Students have said that’s not something their comfortable with, given the recent rise in antisemitic incidents on Ohio State University’s campus as the war in the Middle East continues.

“The best we can do is, you know, whenever we do a program, we have security now, which is a new thing for us, which it shouldn’t have to be,” said Rabbi Zalman Deitsch with OSU Schottenstein Chabad. “The students do feel uncomfortable, but we’re hoping that, them realizing that community comes together, it does make for a better time and makes the heart feel a little bit better.”

Leaders said that Hanukkah will be celebrated with more love, light and Jewish Pride, in solidarity with the Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel.

“When the entire community comes together as one united entity, we are dispelling the darkness in the world, and we’re helping people in need,” said Kaltmann.

Chabad Columbus is holding ‘Eight Nights of Fun.’ For night one, Judah the Maccabee jumped out of a plane and lit the first candle on the Menorah. A candy cannon blasted thousands of candy dreidels, and if that wasn’t enough, a helicopter came and dropped more candy.

“There was nothing more precious than seeing a child smile and enjoy Hanukkah to see a child’s face light up with excitement. Even though Hanukkah is thousands of years old, our kids are celebrating,” said Kaltmann.

“As everybody knows, the thing that’s the best combat to negativity is community,” Deitsch said. “So we are, at this time, always more bright.”

For a list of events hosted by Chabad Columbus, click here. For a list of events hosted by OSU Chabad, click here.

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