Over 250 Sun City Shadow Hills (SCSH) residents gathered in the Montecito ballroom Sunday night, December 2, for the traditional lighting of the menorah to inaugurate the 8-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. For Jews and non-Jews alike, it was a stimulating and inspiring ceremony and program.
The menorah is a nine-branched candelabrum. On each night of Hanukkah an additional branch is lit to commemorate the miracle of the small jar of oil that lasted for 8 days until more could be obtained to keep the holy temple’s menorah lit in Jerusalem. During one of the darkest times of the year, the menorah represents light and hope to the Jewish people in reverential ceremony.
The Shamash, the special candle that kindles the others, represents each person’s ability to light up the world with hope and possibilities. By refraining from harmful speech, donating food and time to the less fortunate, and respecting others, we all have the power to contribute bright light, dignity, and justice to the world.
Spiritual Leader, Ken Hailpern led the assemblage in prayers for the victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue tragedy in Pittsburgh, where 11 were killed and 7 were injured.
We were honored by the presence of the Shadow Aires, a performing ensemble of our own community singers, directed by Karen Adamik. They sang several songs (including two in Hebrew), closing with God Bless America dedicated to our California firefighters and first responders and honoring the memory of President George H.W. Bush.
Then we were blessed with the Ukulele Ensemble, led by Darlene Kretchmer and George De Graffenreid. They performed several Hanukkah songs, including the ever-popular Hanukkah in Santa Monica. To close, we all sang and clapped in unison to Hava Nagila!
All in all, it was a great night and a great way to begin our special holiday season!