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Rochester celebrates the second night of Chanukah with menorah lighting

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Rochester Public Menorah Lighting
Public lighting of the menorah on day two of Chanukah.

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- Chanukah officially started on Sunday and Monday night there was a big public celebration for Rochester, the lighting of two candles on the menorah.

It was a great scene in Downtown Rochester, with both faith and community leaders coming together to celebrate Chanukah, the 'Festival of Lights.'

Chanukah is the story of a miracle, it's said after the Jewish people were able to rebuild the Second Temple, they only had enough oil to light the menorah for a single day.

However the menorah stayed burning for eight days, leading to the eight day festival now celebrated.

"It keeps on driving that point home and uplifting us to be able to strive to reach beyond our capabilities," said Rabbi David Greene, Executive Director of the Chabad of Southern Minnesota.

Rabbi Greene says Chanukah is a universal holiday.

"The message of Chanukah is not only for Jews, it has a universal message about how right over might, light over darkness, which is something everybody can share in that message and to share just being together and celebrating that fact," continued Greene.

A universal message that brings the unity of many people, among those joining in the celebration: Rochester Mayor Kim Norton, Senator Carla Nelson, Rochester Police Chief Jim Franklin and Representative Tina Liebling.

"It's wonderful to have this public Chanukah celebration. We have a lot of diverse communities here in Rochester and it's wonderful to have people to come out and celebrate in public," said representative Liebling.

Liebling is of the Jewish faith herself, but she believes it's important to keep her faith and politics separate so she can represent all of Rochester's diversity.

"I don't represent the Jewish community, I represent a district in Rochester, with all of its diversity," explained Liebling.

Diversity of attendees, diversity of opinions and joyful spirits uniting is the "Festival of Lights.'

"It's kind of a dark time in our country in a lot of ways and a lot of people are very fearful about what's happening, that we're so divided. So it is a good unifying holiday that can bring a lot of people together," continued Liebling.

"It teaches us that as we increase in light. So tonight [Monday] it's nice to be able to gather people together and enjoy each other's company," said Greene.

The final day of Chanukah is next Monday. Rabbi Greene says the final day is always full of the feeling of knowing there's a lesson to be learned and being able to apply it throughout the next year.

Holden Krusemark

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