The ninth annual Shelter Island lighting of the Menorah took place Sunday, next to the Christmas tree on the front lawn of Police Department headquarters.
Rabbi Berel Lerman of the Center For Jewish Life–Chabad in Sag Harbor presided over the ceremony, accompanied by about 50 people. As Rabbi Lerman said, the Menorah lighting “celebrates and symbolizes the vanquishing of darkness through light, good over evil, and the triumph of freedom over tyranny.”
Rabbi Lerman touched briefly on the issue of rising antisemitism, and said the Menorah lighting should “remind all of us to be bright lights to our families, and also to our communities. In every generation, we must recommit ourselves to shining a light of goodness that will stamp out darkness, hate and bigotry.”
During Chanukah — the Jewish festival of lights — public Menorah lighting ceremonies are held all over the world.
Rabbi Lerman briefly traced the tradition back to 160 B.C., when Judah the Maccabee led a small army of Jews and successfully defeated the Syrians, reclaiming the temple and relighting the golden Menorah.
According to legend, the Rabbi told the gathering, the Jews had only enough oil for a single day, but the Menorah burned for eight days, and the eight candles on the Menorah are there to remember the power of faith.
Supervisor Gerry Siller, Councilman Jim Colligan and Police Chief Jim Read attended the ceremony on a cold, clear night.
Also in attendance were Father Peter DeSanctis, pastor of Our Lady of the Isle, and Reverend Stephen Adkinson, pastor of Shelter Island Presbyterian Church.
Songs, smiling faces, donuts and gifts for children ended the joyous ceremony of lights.