Meno­rah light­ing held in Rail­road Plaza to cel­e­brate Hanukkah

North Penn Life - - News - By Bradley Sch­legel bschlegel@jour­nalregis­ter .com

Af­ter the il­lu­mi­na­tion of two lights on the meno­rah above the stage at Rail­road Plaza in Lans­dale Satur­day night, Alan Gold gave a ser­mon ex­plain­ing the dif­fer­ence be­tween Christ­mas and Hanukkah.

Call it the Jewish ver­sion of Ge­orge Car­lin’s Base­ball vs. Foot­ball comedic rou­tine.

Christ­mas is Chris­tian­ity’s ma­jor hol­i­day, ac­cord­ing to Gold, a New Bri­tain res­i­dent.

He called Hanukkah a mi­nor one in the Jewish re­li­gion with the same themes as all its hol­i­days.

“They tried to kill us,” said Gold. “We sur­vived. So let’s eat.”

Christ­mas is one day, while Hanukkah lasts eight.

“There’s only one way to spell Christ­mas,” he said. “No one’s quite sure how to spell Hanukkah, whether it’s with a C-H or with two Ks”

On Christ­mas, Chris­tians cel­e­brate by bak­ing cook­ies and go­ing to church, ac­cord­ing to Gold.

He said Jews go to the movies and eat Chi­nese food.

The an­nual Meno­rah Light­ing event — or­ga­nized by Gold and Ellen PriceMaloy, which in­cluded a per­for­mance by the Horns of Hanukkah, marks the be­gin­ning of the Hanukkah cel­e­bra­tion.

A mi­nor hol­i­day on the Jewish cal­en­dar fall­ing on the 25th day of Kislev, Hanukkah com­mem­o­rates an an­cient mir­a­cle in He­brew lore.

In 165 B. C., the Jewish peo­ple, weary of Syr­ian op­pres­sion, re­volted. When the tem­ple was reded­i­cated, there was only one- night’s olive oil for the meno­rah. Le­gend holds that the oil burned for eight days.

When the elec­tric meno­rah did come on, only two lights were lit — the cen­tral can­dle, the shamash, and the right­most can­dle of the meno­rah. That’s be­cause it was RNOy WKH fiRSW NLJKW RI WKH eight-day Jewish fes­ti­val of lights.

The cus­tom is that each night, one ad­di­tional can­dle is lit from right to left, which is the same way He­brew text is read.

Gold told the crowd that the Jewish hol­i­day, which is not ref­er­enced in the Bi­ble, has evolved over the yHDRS IRR WKH EHNH­fiW RI -Hwish chil­dren as a ri­val to the over­whelm­ing pop­u­lar­ity of Christ­mas.

Ac­cord­ing to Gold, the lo­cal cer­e­mony be­gan sev­eral years ago when former Lans­dale Mayor Mike Di­N­un­zio asked Dalck Feith — a con­cen­tra­tion camp sur­vivor who has since died — to do­nate $50,000 for the nine-branched can­de­labrum and con­tin­u­ing main­te­nance.

Gold said Hanukkah means ded­i­ca­tion in He­brew, from when the Ma­cabbee fam­ily beat the Syr­ian/Greek op­pres­sors and re­turned to the de­stroyed tem­ple to re-ded­i­cate the holy place.

“It’s a fun and joy­ful time” said Price-Maloy, a Mont­gomery Town­ship res­i­dent who played her gui­tar and led a sing-along be­fore an ap­prox­i­mate au­di­ence of 50 peo­ple. “I do it to have a good time with it.”

Many fam­i­lies in the North Penn re­gion have Jewish roots, ac­cord­ing to Gold, who, with the help of mem­bers of the North Penn B’nai B’rith, has or­ga­nized the cer­e­mony the past 17 years.

How­ever, he said that only a frac­tion have any con­nec­tion to lo­cal syn­a­gogues.

Photo by MARK C. PSORAS

Ellen Price Malloy, left, sings a song with her grand­son, Justin Chi­nof­sky, and Alan Gold, right, at the an­nual light­ing of the meno­rah for the first night of Hanukkah at Rail­road Plaza in Lans­dale Satur­day.

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