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Menorah lighting will continue on, rabbi says

Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, spiritual leader of the Chabad Community Center for Jewish Life and Learning, talks to the crowd at the  2018 "Bricktown Lights" as Larry David, the event's emcee, looks on. [Carla Hinton/The Oklahoman]
Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, spiritual leader of the Chabad Community Center for Jewish Life and Learning, talks to the crowd at the 2018 "Bricktown Lights" as Larry David, the event's emcee, looks on. [Carla Hinton/The Oklahoman]

Light will dispel the darkness — whether it is in the form of divisive discourse or violence fueled by hatred.

Rabbi Ovadia Goldman said that is the message he would like to convey at the 2019 Bricktown Lights event set for 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark Third Base Plaza, 2 S Mickey Mantle Drive.

The sixth annual community gathering will feature the lighting of a giant menorah to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah, which begins at sundown Sunday.

"The Jewish community has just experienced another incident in New Jersey but we do want to make Hanukkah even greater this year," Goldman said.

He said there were more than 400 similar public menorah lighting events around the world in 2018 and he predicted there would be more on Sunday.

"This year, we're being prodded by God to increase light. That's the only way to push out darkness," Goldman said.

Goldman's comments referred to the Dec. 10 shootings at a New Jersey kosher market which left six people dead, including the two killers who identified themselves in the past as Black Hebrew Israelites, a movement whose members have been known to rail against whites and Jews. According to authorities, the killers murdered a police officer before entering the market and fatally shooting three people there. Authorities have said the killings were motivated by anti-Semitic and anti-law enforcement leanings.

"In this time of winter where the nights are longer and the days are shorter and when people are finding ways to express their hatred through violence, we want to offer an opportunity to gather in unity and light," Goldman said.

"It's better to bring love and light to deal with darkness. That's the beautiful American way."

Something new

Often called the Jewish Festival of Lights, the eight-day holiday of Hanukkah commemorates the victory of a band of Jews, the Maccabees, against Greek-Syrian occupiers in 165 B.C. and the re-dedication of their temple. When the Maccabees reclaimed the temple from their oppressors, they wanted to light the eternal light, known as the N'er Tamid, which is in every Jewish house of worship.According to tradition, once lighted, the oil lamp should never be extinguished, but the Maccabees had only enough oil for one day.During Hanukkah, Jewish families celebrate the miracle that the Maccabees' lamp stayed lit for eight days with the small amount of oil that remained. The most popular symbol of Hanukkah is the menorah, a type of lamp.

Goldman said a new menorah that was created in Oklahoma will be featured this year and the program will be focused a bit more on families. He said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt and U.S. Sen. James Lankford are both expected to attend as they did in 2018.

Guests also will be treated to interactions with "Dreidel Man" and another Hanukkah-inspired character, one of the Maccabees. Hanukkah food will also be offered, including hot tea and coffee as well as latkes, fried potato pancakes traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday.

Chuckling, the rabbi said the gathering is being held about an hour earlier than usual to acknowledge the fact that another event — an Oklahoma City Thunder game — is also scheduled on Sunday.

"We will be bumping up on a Thunder game," Goldman said. "We don't want to get in the way of that. People can come to the menorah lighting and go straight to the game after that."

CONTRIBUTING: Associated Press.

Going on

Bricktown Lights

When: 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark Third Base Plaza, 2 S Mickey Mantle Drive.

Cost: Free. Parking will be free at the Joe Carter lot southeast of the ballpark.

Information: www.jewishokc.com/bricktownlights.

Related Photos
<strong>In this 1953 photo, Joanna Benorf, 6, looks at the giant menorah on the lawn of Emanuel Synagogue in Oklahoma City. 
 [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]</strong>

In this 1953 photo, Joanna Benorf, 6, looks at the giant menorah on the lawn of Emanuel Synagogue in Oklahoma City. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-66f0a041a330fb4c13c8d08eb2bfb06b.jpg" alt="Photo - In this 1953 photo, Joanna Benorf, 6, looks at the giant menorah on the lawn of Emanuel Synagogue in Oklahoma City. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] " title=" In this 1953 photo, Joanna Benorf, 6, looks at the giant menorah on the lawn of Emanuel Synagogue in Oklahoma City. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] "><figcaption> In this 1953 photo, Joanna Benorf, 6, looks at the giant menorah on the lawn of Emanuel Synagogue in Oklahoma City. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-971a7e1823a72b0deae5eac7be265ebb.jpg" alt="Photo - Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, spiritual leader of the Chabad Community Center for Jewish Life and Learning, talks to the crowd at the 2018 "Bricktown Lights" as Larry David, the event's emcee, looks on. [Carla Hinton/The Oklahoman] " title=" Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, spiritual leader of the Chabad Community Center for Jewish Life and Learning, talks to the crowd at the 2018 "Bricktown Lights" as Larry David, the event's emcee, looks on. [Carla Hinton/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, spiritual leader of the Chabad Community Center for Jewish Life and Learning, talks to the crowd at the 2018 "Bricktown Lights" as Larry David, the event's emcee, looks on. [Carla Hinton/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Carla Hinton

Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide... Read more ›

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