McAllen community celebrates start of Hanukkah with menorah lighting
After more than a year of darkness from the pandemic, the Rio Grande Valley Jewish community came together to celebrate Hanukkah with a traditional lighting ceremony of the menorah at Archer Park in McAllen.
“We call it the holiday of the menorah," said Chabad RGV Rabbi Asher Hecht. "The menorah is a candelabra that hosts eight lights and it represents a story that took place in our history."
Hanukkah is the Hebrew word for dedication. Hecht says when each candle is lit on each passing day, it signifies virtue.
"The way it relates to us today is that every single human being has to recognize that they have a light inside of them," Hecht said.
McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos lit the first candle on the special menorah sculpted out of ice.
"One of the good things we have here in McAllen is how accepting we are of different cultures, of different religions, of different people," Villalobos said.
Local families shared how they plan to celebrate the next eight days.
"For all of the eight nights, we always go huddle around the menorah, sing the prayer, kind of commemorate each day," said Eitan Woloski.
Hecht hopes Sunday's lighting ceremony inspires others to realize their gifts within this holiday season.
"You could be talented, you could be a musician, you could be an incredible writer, you could just be a joyous person," Hecht said. "Take those gifts, share them with others, celebrate the holiday.