The Richmond community came together on Sunday night to celebrate Hanukkah at a public menorah lighting at the Barbara and Jay Vincent Park in Marina Bay.
Rabbi Yitzchok Wagner of the Chabad Jewish Center of Richmond told the story of Hanukkah and the small jug of oil that was only enough to light the menorah for one night.
“They decided to go ahead anyway and light the menorah, and miraculously, instead of being lit for one night as it should have, the oil lasted for eight nights,” Wagner said at the waterfront gathering. “Some say imagine if you look at your phone and you have enough battery for one hour, and it lasts for eight.”
Wagner said the message of Hanukkah is to spread light to others. That we are all little menorahs, and we can each help brighten the world. The miracle of Hanukkah is a reminder that even a small amount of light can make a big difference.
“When we go into a dark room, all it takes is one small match to light up the room. Each candle, each match can light another fire just as big or maybe even bigger than the original one,” Wagner said. “Let’s take the message of Hanukkah and not get worried about the darkness around us. Remember that Hanukkah is about bringing light to others, spreading light to others, to ourselves and our families, and making sure to bring the light of Hanukkah to the world.
City Councilmember Cesar Zepeda, the only Richmond City Council member to attend the menorah lighting, said he stood in solidarity with the Jewish community.
“I am here to let you know that you have an ally. You have a friend on the city council,” Zepeda said. “Through the darkness, we’ve all gone through and we continue to go through with this war to the darkness we see in our communities, I ask of you to help each other to continue to light our city, our residents, and our friends and neighbors.”
Zepeda cast the lone vote against a resolution backing Palestinians and accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing.
“I hope that one day, our youth here will be taking my place. It is a great honor that I have to light the menorah. I wish to give this to someone in the future and then that you help light the city council with your light for years to come,” Zepeda said.
The menorah lighting was followed by a reception with food and music.
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