Nanaimo’s Jewish community will light up Bastion Square Park with a Hanukkah celebration.
The eight-day Jewish festival of lights, commemorating a victory over a large Syrian-Greek army 2,000 years ago, begins today, Dec. 2, and Chabad of Nanaimo will host a menorah lighting Dec. 4 at 5:30 p.m. followed by a party at the square by the Bastion and Pioneer Waterfront Plaza on Front Street.
The Greeks had destroyed candle-lighting oil, but the Jewish people found an oil jug that was supposed to last a day, but instead lasted eight.
Rabbi Bentzi Shemtov, Chabad of Nanaimo director, said the venue will be new and hopefully more central, as previous lightings have taken place at Nanaimo city hall. The menorah will be lit, there will be music and “a nice atmosphere of lighting up the darkness,” Shemtov said. Following that, a party will be held at the Best Western Dorchester Hotel with latkes (potato pancakes), doughnuts, dreidels and Lego.
Shemtov said there will be another celebration, Dec. 6 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. at Nanaimo North Library.
“This year, we’re having also something open for the wider community,” said Shemtov. “We’re having Hanukkah story time at the library. That’s something new we’re doing for Hanukkah this year … we’re going to be reading there all about Hanukkah [with] some crafts and snacks with a Hanukkah theme.”
Shemtov said Hanukkah occurs at different times each year.
“The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar and the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar, so our calendar year is 12 months, which is only about 29 or 30 days and the other calendar is 30, 31 days and therefore makes the regular calendar get a head of us and that’s why every few years we have a leap year … next year Hanukkah again will be later because in March, we’ll have a double month and then we’ll catch up the calender, because every few years, we have that extra month to fill up the days that we’re falling behind,” said Shemtov.
Shemtov also said light-up bracelets will be handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis.
For more information, go to www.jewishnanaimo.com.