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Hanukkah Begins on Saturday

Public menorah lightings are among the local holiday activities planned.

“The theme of Hanukkah,” Rabbi Michoel Green notes, “is the triumph of light over darkness, of good over evil."

Generosity is one form of that light, Rabbi Green said Tuesday.

Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, starts at sunset this Saturday and ends at sunset Sunday, Dec. 16.

This year, community members are mindful that “there are people that are still homeless in New York and New Jersey,” for example, said Green, who leads Chabad of Westborough.

“A little bit of light dispels a lot of darkness. And nowadays, even a little bit of generosity goes a lot further. The need is greater,” he said.

“Charity is something which is very relevant to Hanukkah.”

Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz of Congregation B’nai Shalom in Westborough said Hanukkah is “a wonderful opportunity to bring us together socially.”

Congregation B’nai Shalom’s holiday activities will include a musical sing-along and a community dinner, she noted.

“One of the things I’m emphasizing for our community is it’s important  that we just get together to celebrate and to socialize. Hanukkah lends itself to that,” said Gurevitz, who is celebrating her first Hanukkah in Westborough.

Congregation B’nai Shalom’s youth group will run the Hanukkah service, she said.

“It’s very interesting. Every year, the youth group chooses a theme. And their theme this year was looking at how do they take their Jewishness, their identity, out into the public world, out into the rest of their lives outside of the synagogue, which is a very Hanukkah-relevant theme. Because Hanukkah is all about the tension between assimilation into majority culture versus maintaining the integrity of your own heritage," Rabbi Gurevitz said.

“I think our youth experience that tension, and it’s fabulous that they’re trying to figure out and are using the Hanukkah service as a way of expressing that. And they’re doing that by taking a lot of our liturgy and showing how its themes are reflected in the lyrics of pop songs from the secular world. They’ve come up with a great way of doing it.”

The schedule of local Hanukkah events includes:

  • A Community Sing Along from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Congregation B’nai Shalom. There will be a Community Lighting for the first night of Hanukkah, followed by an optional pot-luck latke dinner.  
  • Chabad of Westborough will hold a public menorah lighting at 7 p.m. Saturday in Shrewsbury, at the corner of Main Street and Route 140.
  • The Chabad center also will hold a public menorah lighting at 12:15 p.m. Sunday on the Westborough rotary.
  • The Chabad center will hold a Hanukkah Fun Day at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the JC Penney court at the Solomon Pond Mall in Northborough.
  • Congregation B'nai Shalom will hold a Shabbat Hanukkah Creative Service led by WAFTY at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14.
  • Congregation B'nai Shalom will hold a Hanukkah Tot Shabbat for families with kids ages 0 to 6 at 10:15 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, followed at 11 a.m. by an Early Childhood Hanukkah Party.

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