Chabad Lubavitch of North East Iowa will ignite a public 10-foot menorah erected at Cameron Park, followed by a communitywide celebration on Wednesday, Dec. 1, the fourth night of Chanukah.
The ceremony will feature the menorah lighting performed by Rabbi Brian Serle from the Congregation Sons of Abraham La Crosse, and Mayor Mitch Reynolds, who will also deliver holiday greetings.
Rabbi Aron Schimmel, director of the Chabad Jewish Center of North East Iowa, says that “With the La Crosse population growing, more and more people are requesting that we diversify our offerings. We are delighted to do this at The Cameron Park this year.”
Following the menorah lighting ceremony, the assembled will dance, sing, and eat donuts and latkes (potato pancakes), a traditional Chanukah food. The event will also feature, Chanukah gelt, gifts and dreidels for the children. The event will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 pm.
Rabbi Schimmel remarked, “The Menorah serves as a symbol of La Crosse’s dedication to preserve and encourage the right and liberty of all its citizens to worship G-d freely, openly, and with pride. Specifically in America, a nation that was founded upon and vigorously protects the right of every person to practice his or her religion free from restraint and persecution, the Menorah takes on profound significance, embodying both religious and constitutional principles.”
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Michael Margulis, who is looking forward to attending the public menorah lighting, said, “I want my kids to grow up with pride in their Jewish heritage and a feeling of equality and self-confidence as an American. The public menorah lighting is one of the most important events to help my children’s education. It helps me teach my children values that I took for granted growing up.”
The menorah display at Cameron Park is one of several in Wisconsin and one of thousands of large public menorahs sponsored by Chabad throughout the world, helping children and adults of all walks of life discover and enjoy the holiday message.
The event is open to the public and is free of charge.