by Menachem Posner – Chabad.org
By all accounts, Eliyahu Moscowitz, who was murdered in a Chicago park on Simchat Torah night, was a beacon of light.
This Chanukah, even as the murderer remains at large, two giant menorahs will be dedicated in his memory.
At the site of the grisly shooting, Loyola Park, a giant 9-foot menorah will be lit in his memory. On the second night of Chanukah, Dec. 3, a cartop-menorah parade, “a convoy of light,” will arrive at the lakefront site at 7:00 p.m., for a brief ceremony and celebration.
Rabbi Yoel and Rivky Wolf, co-directors of Chabad of East Rogers Park, who arranged for the menorah to be put up, say that an oversized menorah is a most fitting tribute for Moscowitz, whom they knew personally. “Eliyahu had the brightest smile, and was a ray of light in so many people’s lives,” says the rabbi. “It is appropriate that the site where his light was taken prematurely be the source of light that will spread out all over the city.”
Several miles away, Rabbi Avraham Varnai’s fourth graders at the Seymour J. Abrams Cheder Lubavitch Hebrew Day School will be lighting a giant menorah of their own, built out of more than a thousand individually packed Chanukah menorah kits. Following the menorah lighting, the kits will be distributed to people in need all across Illinois.
“Eliyahu was a personal friend,” says Varnai, who would speak on the phone to Moscowitz once a week. “I remember him as a student at Cheder, and it was such a pleasure to see him grow and blossom into a caring and sensitive adult. We all miss him terribly.”
The menorah kits were purchased with funds the students raised from friends, neighbors and family members. Some of the students did not know Moscowitz personally, but they all know his family. His mother, Chanie Moscowitz, was their kindergarten teacher, and his father, Rabbi Mendel Moscowitz, taught them just last year.
“We each feel this loss personally,” says Varnai, “and this is our small way of adding light to a world that appears to have gotten so much darker.”