Bringing light to Sonoma
By BOB NORBERG / The Press Democrat
A large menorah was lit on the second night of Hanukkah on Sunday, during a celebration in Sonoma that featured traditional music, food and dance.
The Chabad Jewish Center in Santa Rosa sponsored the lighting ceremony at Whole Foods Market at the Sonoma Marketplace.
“We are expressing our joy for the miracles that God gives us in our lives every day,,” said Rabbi Mendel Wolvovsky.
About 70 people turned out for the second night of Hanukkah, an eight-day holiday that commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Jews’ victory over the Hellenist Syrians in 165 B.C.
The menorah that was used in that ceremony only had enough oil to last one day but miraculously lasted eight.
The message is that miracles can happen at the darkest of times, Wolvovsky said.
Since Hanukkah is not a biblical holiday, like Passover, it also is not as solemn.
The celebration Sunday featured traditional klezmer music, played by musicians with a violin, accordian, trumpet and guitar.
“It is an opportunity to celebrate with our family, teach how the oil lasted eight days. It is an opportunity to share that with my children, share my heritage and give them gifts, since we don’t celebrate Christmas,” said Stuart Sager of Sonoma, who attended the lighting.
The public celebration was also a blending of the holidays.
The menorah was set up not far from McCaulou’s Kids, decorated for Christmas and featuring holiday clothing.
Christmas trees were being sold on the other side of Whole Foods, and many shops in the center had holiday lights.
Similar Hanukkah ceremonies will be held today in the Village Court at Montgomery Village, Tuesday at the Oakville Grocery in Healdsburg, Wednesday at Oliver’s Market in Cotati and Thursday at the Pacific Market in Sebastopol. They will all be at 5 p.m.
Wolvovsky said it is the 11th year that they have had the public celebrations.
“Hanukkah is to spread the light, the warmth and the goodness, to get it out as far as you can,” Wolvovsky said.