Grand Chanukah celebration will feature giant Menorah lighting
To help welcome Chanukah, the Lubavitch-Chabad Jewish Student and Community Center at the University of Florida will host a Downtown Family Festival in Gainesville the evening of Dec. 17. The Jewish community will commemorate the eight-day “festival of lights” by lighting a giant Menorah. The festivities will get underway at 5:30 p.m. in the Bo Diddley Downtown Plaza. The kindling of the grand Menorah will begin at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Many dignitaries, including Mayor Ed Braddy, are expected to join in the celebration and deliver holiday greetings. In addition to the lighting, the program will also feature hot latkes, sufganiyot, a Chanukah gift shop, music and dancing with the Klezmer Katz band and dreidels for everyone. “Chanukah is all about light, warmth and the hope that everyone can experience the joys of this season and the faith in miracles,” said Chanie Goldman, co-director of the Center.
In that same spirit, the Center and its UF student group are running a fall kids toy drive called “Toys for Joy!” The toys will be given to hospitalized children in the area as a meaningful way to celebrate Chanukah. The “Toys for Joy!” project is made possible with the generous participation, donations and support of the Alachua County community. Participants who donate towards this project can send a signed personal message of encouragement to the young patients. Toys and donations earmarked for this project can be dropped off or mailed to the Center at 2021 NW 5th Ave., Gainesville, FL 32603.
The Lubavitch-Chabad Jewish Student and Community Center at the University of Florida is a branch of the Lubavitch-Chabad movement, an international Chassidic organization. With more than 4,000 centers around the globe, it is by far the largest network of Jewish religious and social services in the world. In its Chanukah outreach campaign, the Gainesville Center joins hundreds of other centers across the globe that are staging similar massive public displays of the Menorah and its symbolic lights.
For more information about the Chanukah celebration or the “Toys for Joy!” project, please contact Rabbi Berl Goldman or Chanie Goldman at (352) 336-5877 or Rabb@JewishGator.com