The glow of a 15-Foot Menorah and the United States Navy Band’s performance of Chanukah tunes brought hundreds to Boston’s Downtown Crossing Menorah-Lighting ceremony to celebrate the first night of Chanukah.
Rabbi Rachmiel Liberman of Congregation Lubavitch Synagogue in Brookline highlighted the importance of the public celebration, not only for Jews but for those of all faiths. “Chanukah is very important because it represents the first fight for freedom of religion,” Liberman told the crowd.
“Now more than ever, the message of the Chanukah flames should spread forth. All people should be able to display symbols of their religion publicly.”
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, who helped Liberman light the Menorah, asked people to celebrate their differences and their shared values, especially in the wake of recent tragedies.
“Light always drives out darkness even in the hardest of times,” the mayor said.
“In the midst of tragic events, both at home and abroad, gatherings like this show that we are strongest when we stand as one,” commented Congressman Joe Kennedy.
Senator Elizabeth Warren who delivered the keynote address, spoke about the recent terrorist attacks.
Ellen Reilly, who lives in downtown Boston, said she and her mother often attend both the Menorah-Lighting and tree lighting ceremonies in the city.
“We do it to be part of the community that is here,” Reilly said. “There needs to be more respect for all religions, and we can show support by being here.”
For Amy Lieberman, a 23-year-old who recently moved from Maryland, the celebration provided comfort during a holiday season away from family.
She said she was grateful to be able to honor her faith in a public space.
“It’s really nice that we are able to have a public celebration like this,” she said. “Not everywhere in the world and not at every point in time could people do that.”