Lawrence events center on spreading light to celebrate Hanukkah

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Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel, co-director of the Chabad Center for Jewish Life, hosted two events at the Lawrence Public Library this week to celebrate Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights.


During the “Amazing Olive Press Storytime” on Tuesday, children gathered around as Tiechtel told stories, showed them how to squeeze olive oil, and helped them make wicks to use in a menorah.

On Wednesday, Tiechtel celebrated the fourth night of Hanukkah by hosting the annual menorah lighting event. With a large group gathered on the lawn of the library, he lit the 9-foot-tall menorah alongside Dan the Dancing Dreidel and Tum Balalaika — a Klezmer band led by a group of Ukrainian refugees — who performed Jewish folk music.

Despite the cold, the joyous holiday celebration brought a sense of warmth with entertainment, holiday foods, and hot drinks.

“We are always looking for new ideas … to keep our community engaged and excited for this special Jewish holiday,” Tiechtel says. “The creation of light, counteracting the darkness, pandemic and global challenges, is especially important during this joyous time of the year. The message of Hanukkah is the mandate for each of us to do our part to light up our own community and those around us.”

This year, Hanukkah started at nightfall on Dec. 18 and will end in the evening of Monday, Dec. 26.

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Jordan Winter (she/her), a contributor to The Lawrence Times, is a 2019 KU grad with degrees in journalism and political science.

Check out her work at See more of her work for the Times here.

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