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Community gathers to celebrate Hanukkah at Stinson Park

Celebrating light over darkness
Posted at 7:59 AM, Nov 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-29 09:26:15-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On the first night of Hanukkah, the Jewish community reflected on celebrating light over darkness.

Faith leaders were joined by Congressman Don Bacon at Chabad of Nebraska's "Festival of Lights" at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village.

"We always celebrate it as if it's the first time, it's an invitation for us to light up, it's an invitation for us to find that spark within us," Rabbi Mendel Katzman said.

Every Hanukkah feels new to him.

"It's an invitation for us to take that spark and spread it throughout the world and share it with the world and support those that are anxious and to inspire those that are giving up," Katzman said.

Hanukkah means dedication. More than 2,100 years after Jews rose up against their persecutors and rededicated the Second Temple in Jerusalem, Shani Katzman still feels inspired by the story of a miracle, a small quantity of oil that lit the temple's Holy Lamp for 8 days.

"In these difficult times when we're struggling and we're confused and many are alone and many are anxious, that reaching down-dip and pulling out that little bit of oil that somehow stretches is what Hanukkah is all about," Shani said.

No matter how many Hanukkahs are celebrated, the Jewish community finds ways to get creative.

"So this year, we have the bagel menorah. Everyone knows that you know man does not live by bread alone, but by the word of God so we have the juxtaposition of okay, you want to feed your bodies, here's the bagels, you want to feed your soul, here's the light," Shani said.

If we feel starved for meaning or purpose, this is what Shani clings to.

"That living energy and that Godly living energy is what we each have at our core, if we pull from that, we will find infinite power," Shani said.

The next event is on Dec. 6 with a menorah parade that starts at Boys Town.

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