Chabad of Essex, UK, kicked off the first two nights of Chanukah with two Menorah lightings in two towns, which – despite the clash with local holidays – brought out huge impressive crowds, showing the true strength and real Jewish Pride which often lays beneath the surface of this community.
At both events everyone enjoyed hot chocolate, latkes and doughnuts.
Organised by Rabbi Odom and Henny Brandman of Chabad Buckhurst Hill, the first Menorah Lighting was held in Chigwell, and well over 400 people came out soon after Shabbos to welcome in Chanukah in style. A special Havdalah by guest chazzan Rabbi Zali Rodal opened the evening on a high, and warmed the souls of everyone present before the lighting of the Menorah.
Executive Director of Chabad North East London & Essex, Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin, addressed the crowd, as did Rabbi Boruch Davis of the Chigwell & Hainault Synagogue. Rabbi Brandman then invited the Guest of Honour, the Chairman of the Epping Forest District Council, who is the Queen’s Representative in Essex, to light up the Samash. Rabbi Rafi Goodwin made the Brochos and invited two families, Howard and Karen Wise and Greg and Laraine Warren, who do so much for the community, to light the first candle.
The second night saw large crowds gather in Buckhurst Hill for a second Public Menorah Lighting, followed by a Chanukah Party at the Chabad House featuring an Artisan Chocolate Menorah designed and built by chocolatiers Andrew Kennard and his son Ashley. The actual Menorah and Chocolate Tombola Bricks were then auctioned off for charity.
Chabad still has four more Public Menorah Lightings across Essex to go, so they’re off to a great start!