On Dec. 22, the Chabad of Kirkland is hosting its annual Grand Menorah Lighting event at the Marina Park Pavilion.
The event will run from 4:15-6:45 p.m. and marks the beginning of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, which lasts eight nights and days.
Public menorah lighting in commemoration of Hanukkah (which means “dedication” in Hebrew) has been internationally commonplace since the 1970s, after the practice was started by Chabad-Lubavitch movement leader and Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
The first public lighting of a Hanukkah menorah occurred in 1974, by Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell.
“It’s something we’re sharing with the local community and the Jewish community,” Rabbi Chaim S. Rivkin, who is also the executive director of the Chabad of Kirkland, said of the ceremony, which was established in Kirkland a few years ago.
The celebration will include, in addition to the menorah lighting itself, live music, a dreidel stilt performer, traditional Hanukkah refreshments and more.
Kirkland Mayor Penny Sweet will also be speaking at the event.
“She was actually there last year before she even became the mayor,” Rivkin said, adding that he personally invited Sweet to the upcoming event earlier this year.
Rivkin said that in getting the event coordinated, he has found that the community has been supportive, and that those who aren’t as familiar with the holiday or the celebration in Kirkland have shown genuine curiosity and investment.
He said the message the ceremony offers — that light has the power to push the darkness away — is an empowering one that continues to draw in people.
“That’s why people really like it and they want to attend,” Rivkin said, adding that lighting a candle symbolizes the act of spreading love against hate — something that he said is important to remember.
Lighting the world, Rivkin said, is the only way to improve the society in which we live.
He said every resident in the community is invited. He hopes that the spirit and message of Hanukkah are still carried on even if someone cannot attend.
“Even if they’re not going to be able to do so, be like this candle, be like this menorah and do something good…Together, we’re going to make the world a better place,” Rivkin said.
For more information about the event, go to bit.ly/35in2Zk.