For the seventh annual South Hills Lights Community Chanukah Festival, Rabbi Mendel Rosenblum offered profound gratitude to the host borough.
“Dormont actually came to us to invite us to celebrate Chanukah here on the streets of Dormont because they wanted to make sure that Dormont was a place that included everybody,” he said. “And ever since then they’ve been extremely welcoming and have helped sponsor this event, and we are deeply, deeply appreciative.”
Rosenblum is director of Chabad of the South Hills – Jewish Center for Living and Learning in Mt. Lebanon, and each year the center organizes a celebration to mark the start of the eight days of Chanukah, which was on Dec. 22 this year.
Kate Abel, Dormont council president, spoke on behalf of borough officials and staff members who helped with the event.
“I hope I can speak for all of us when I say that we’re honored and humbled to represent such a welcoming and diverse community,” she said. “As we light these candles tonight, I hope you’ll all be reminded that though one candle may create a small flame, that candle also has the power to light another. And by continuing to use our candles to light the flames of others, we will create a light that glows and shines brightly for all to see.”
Her comments reflected the meaning of Chanukah, as Rosenblum discussed prior to the lighting of a 12-foot menorah along Potomac Avenue.
“Chanukah celebrates an incredible miracle. It celebrates the time when the Jewish people came back to a temple that was defiled, and they could not find even one jug of oil to light the menorah in the temple,” he said. “After searching, they found one puny, little jug of oil, and they took that little bit of oil and they lit the menorah with it.”
The reference is to the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem after the ousting of the Seleucid Empire in the second century B.C.
“This amount of oil was just a teeny bit. It wasn’t even enough to light for more than one day. And yet, it lasted miraculously for eight days,” Rosenblum said.
“The message of that is very, very clear. Each of us has a light that we contribute to the world, and sometimes we may find ourselves questioning whether or not it’s worth it for us to contribute our light because we may ask ourselves, ‘It’s only a little bit of light. How much effect can it have on the world?’
“But the Chanukah story tells us that it’s our job to take whatever talents and abilities and light God has given us, and contribute any way we can,” he continued. “And then God will take over from there and create a miracle in our lives, in the lives of our families and in the lives of our communities.”
Chanukah continues through sunset on Dec. 30, observed by each day lighting the candles of a menorah. The special candelabrum actually holds nine candles, with one, called the shamash, used to light the other eight.
Articles of donated winter clothing were draped on the menorah for the South Hills Lights event, and further donations for the needy can be made at Chabad of the South Hills, 1701 McFarland Road. Visit www.chabadsh.com.