Meno­rah, Christ­mas tree light­ings to­day

Dayton Daily News - - LOCAL & STATE - By Parker Perry Staff Writer

New Carlisle plans to light a Hanukkah meno­rah tonight dur­ing its tree-light­ing cer­e­mony to honor those killed in the Pitts­burgh sy­n­a­gogue shoot­ing.

The meno­rah will be lit be­fore the city’s Christ­mas tree light­ing Satur­day at 6:30 p.m. in down­town New Carlisle.

“Right now is a time full of dark­ness and hate and it’s only ap­pro­pri­ate we spread joy and light to all com­mu­ni­ties and all peo­ple of dif­fer­ent faiths,” New Carlisle Mayor Ethan Reynolds said.

This will be the fourth year New Carlisle has lit a Christ­mas tree down­town, re­viv­ing a tra­di­tion that ended in the 1990s. This is the first time the city will also light a meno­rah.

In Oc­to­ber, a gun­man en­tered the Tree of Life Con­gre­ga­tion in Pitts­burgh and opened fire. Eleven peo­ple were killed and six were in­jured be­fore the gun­man was ar­rested.

Light­ing the meno­rah is a way to re­mem­ber the vic­tims and to sup­port those im­pacted by the tragedy, Reynolds said.

“We are stand­ing with the peo­ple of the Jewish faith,” Reynolds said. “When we light our tree to bring joy and peace and faith we will also cel­e­brate Hanukkah. It’s about hav­ing light to stamp out in­tol­er­ance and ha­tred.”

Rabbi Ari Bal­la­ban, with Tem­ple Beth Or in Day­ton, will light the meno­rah at the event. He said the city’s ges­ture means a lot.

“It takes all in­di­vid­u­als stand­ing up to­gether to make a dif­fer­ence,” Bal­la­ban said. “It means a lot to see some­thing like this hap­pen.”

It’s been a tough time for the Jewish com­mu­nity, Bal­la­ban said. He said re­cent stud­ies show anti-Semitic in­ci­dents are hap­pen­ing more of­ten.

An FBI re­port re­leased in Novem­ber said there was a 23 per­cent in­crease in hate crimes against re­li­gious groups this year with 900 in­ci­dents tar­get­ing Jews and Jewish in­sti­tu­tions.

“The last few years for a lot of peo­ple in the Jewish com­mu­nity in the United States have been a chal­leng­ing time,” he said. “For a lot of Jewish peo­ple, it’s re­ally a new ex­pe­ri­ence to feel that level of an­tipa­thy to­wards Jews.”

Bal­la­ban will travel to the event via fire truck with Reynolds, he said. When he ar­rives at the event he will first ex­plain the sig­nif­i­cance of the meno­rah and Hanukkah to the crowd and then he will light the meno­rah.

Satur­day is the sev­enth day of the eight-day Hanukkah cel­e­bra­tion.

Bal­la­ban said he is bring­ing a meno­rah from a Day­ton sy­n­a­gogue but will have to re­turn it after the event so it won’t re­main on dis­play. The Christ­mas tree will be on dis­play through­out the hol­i­day sea­son.

The event grows every year, Reynolds said. When the city re­launched the yearly tra­di­tion four years ago, only about 25 peo­ple showed up. Last year they had about 75. Reynolds hopes it keeps grow­ing.

“It has built each year. This year we will have free candy canes and hot cho­co­late while sup­plies last,” Reynolds said. “Santa and Mrs. Clause will be there.”

BILL LACKEY / STAFF

The New Carlisle Christ­mas tree is seen through a sculp­ture in front of Penny Lane Cafe and Art Gallery on Main Street Fri­day. New Carlisle will have an of­fi­cial tree­l­ight­ing cer­e­mony at 6:30 p.m. to­day. A rabbi will light a meno­rah in mem­ory of the vic­tims of the Pitts­burgh sy­n­a­gogue shoot­ing.

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