Members of the Chabad of Camden and Burlington County and the community gathered at Barclay Farms in Cherry Hill to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah with the lighting of the first candle on an 18-foot menorah on Sunday, Nov. 28.
“We’ll be starting with one candle the first night, and every additional night of Hanukkah, we’ll add one additional candle,” explained Rabbi and Program Director Laizer Mangel. “But tonight we’re starting with just one.
“A lot of darkness can be dispelled with just one candle, especially with eight nights adding a lot of light.”
The event continues a 28 year annual tradition, started by Rabbi Mendy Mangel, a director at the Chabad, and the 9th year it has been held at Barclay Farm Shopping Center.
“Tonight, we kindle our first candle, always the most difficult candle to light,” Rabbi Mendy said. “To break the darkness, to shatter the pain and apathy. The message of Hanukkah is a message of hope, of happiness, of joy, of light and of miracles.
“When people say ‘it cannot happen,’ we turn to God who can make it all happen. … When we light the first candle, we should look up heavenwards and thank God for the gift of our lives, the blessings of our community, for our wonderful country, for our health, for our neighbors, and for all the good things in our lives.”
When it came time to light the menorah, Rabbis Mendy and Laizer Mangel were joined by Mayor Susan Shin Angulo and Camden County Commissioner Jefferey Nash.
Angulo thanked people for coming and declared the event to be a “true celebration of our community.”
As the center and first candles were being lit above, below a 9-foot LED Mega Robot distributed light sticks. Following the candle lighting, the crowd enjoyed traditional foods such as latke, donuts and chocolate gelt along with cider and lo mein. Despite the cool air, the atmosphere was warm as people began to dance in celebration.
While the candles will continue to be lit throughout the week at Barclay Farm, there will not be another event at Barclay Farm. Instead, the festivities will be carried out at different locations throughout Camden and Burlington counties this week:
- In Haddonfield, on Monday, Nov. 29 at 6 p.m, there will be a Menorah Lighting at Library Point
- In Medford, on Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 5 p.m. there will be a Chanukah Village Walk at Medford Village Park followed by a Menorah Lighting at 6:30 p.m. at the corner of Main St. and Allen Ave
- In Moorestown on Wednesday, Dec. 1, there will be a Menorah Lighting at 6 p.m. at the Community House
- In Collingswood on Thursday, Dec. 2, there will be a Menorah Lighting at 6 p.m. at the Lumberyard Garden at the corner of Collings Ave and N. Atlantic Ave
- In Florence on Friday, Dec. 3, there will be a Menorah Lighting at 4:30 p.m. at 1816 Mt. Holly Road, 101 Burlington, NJ followed by a dinner at 5:30 p.m. with a location given upon RSVP.
- The week-long celebration will culminate with a car parade and lightning celebration on Dec. 5 from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Chabad Center in Cherry Hill.
These events are free and open to the public. To be part of the parade, RSVP at https://www.thechabadcenter.org/templates/articlecco_cdo/aid/3873337/jewish/Car-Menorah-Parade.htm.
For more information about The Chabad Center, visit https://www.thechabadcenter.org/.