On a cold night in Downtown Boston, steps from the marathon finish line where months earlier explosions had rocked the city, a symbol of hope and liberty was lit. Chabad of Boston held their second annual Menorah lighting.
“The Menorah is one of the great symbols for human liberty, and the freedom story of Hanukkah is really a story of liberation for all peoples,” said Rabbi Mayer Zarchi, “That’s why we’re so proud of this unprecedented community display. Government, lay leaders, we have everyone here.”
Over 500 people turned out for the lamp lighting, held on the final night of Hanukkah, including Governor Deval Patrick, Senator Ed Markey, City Councillor-elect Josh Zakim, Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi of the Harvard Chabad House, and Ronit Nudelman-Perl, the Counsel-General of Israel to New England. The event featured a stirring performance by Cantor Zalman Baumgarten, and the honored lamplighter was Boston philanthropist Robert Beal.
“It’s a great honor for me to be with you to celebrate Hanukkah. To acknowledge the triumph of light over darkness, of freedom over bondage, of faith over despair. Let this be an example not just on the 8th night, but for all our days,” said Governor Patrick, who also attended last year’s lighting.
Senator Markey, after sharing a story about a trip to Israel, sang a blessing in Hebrew that his wife had taught him.
After remarks, Beal, Patrick, Zarchi, Nudelman-Perl, and Markey were lifted high in the air by a boom-lift to light the Menorah as music played and the crowd clapped along. After the lighting, families and community members gathered together in a heated tent to enjoy music, refreshments, and crafts.
Copley Square, where the ceremony was held and where the Boston Menorah has been on display throughout the holiday season, is considered by many to be the cultural center of Boston. Besides the marathon finish line, it’s home to The Boston Public Library, historic Trinity Church, and the iconic John Hancock tower. The event furthered Chabad of Boston’s mission to unite Jews of all ages, backgrounds and degrees of observance as to explore Jewish life, ideas and values.
“The great teacher and luminary of freedom, The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, spoke of the divinity of liberty and the sanctity of freedom as part of the providential architecture of man,” said Rabbi Zarchi. “This light will shine bright and illuminate the darkness, which cannot withstand faith, which cannot withstand love, and which cannot withstand the boundless ‘8’ of Menorah light.”
The Boston Menorah is a project of Chabad of Boston