Gilly’s House Hosts Public Menorah Lighting Chanukah Ceremony Set for Dec. 19
By Grace Allen
Gilly’s House invites the entire community to its 3rd annual public menorah lighting ceremony, to be held on Monday, December 19 at 5:30 p.m., the second night of Chanukah. There will be music, dancing, donuts, chocolate gelt, hot apple cider, and a free raffle for attendees.
The event is free of charge and open to all men, women, and children of any (or no) religious faiths.
Chanukah commemorates the victory of Jewish freedom fighters over powerful Syrian Greeks some 2,000 years ago. It also celebrates a miracle that happened during that time: a single day’s supply of oil kept the menorah (candelabrum) in the rededicated temple in Jerusalem lit for eight days, long enough for fresh supplies to be brought in.
Public menorah lightings are part of the laws of Chanukah, which mandate that Jews not only light the menorah in their homes, but also publicize and share the miracle by lighting menorahs in public spaces if possible.
According to Chabad Rabbi Mendy Kivman, the menorah symbolizes the spreading of light and goodness by dispelling the darkness, as well as promoting the idea of religious tolerance and freedom from oppression.
“In modern day America, it’s not only a Jewish symbol. It is a universal message of freedom of religion, too,” said Rabbi Kivman, of Milford’s Chabad House Jewish Center.
Gilly’s House, which is a residential program for young men who have struggled with addiction, is also helping to dispel the darkness, said Rabbi Kivman. Gilly’s House was founded by Wrentham resident Barbara Gillmeister and her husband in memory of their son Steven.
“Barbara’s name in Hebrew is Bracha, which means ‘blessing,’” explained the rabbi. “She suffered a terrible, terrible tragedy and turned it around and made it a blessing. The idea of opening Gilly’s House was literally the idea of transforming darkness into light. Drug addiction, for a long time, was like the dark of night. People didn’t talk about it. But the Gillmeisters are shining a light on the darkness of addiction, much as a public menorah shines a light on the darkness of night.”
He added, “We live in a dark world in many ways, but we have been taught that we are ready for a brighter future, known as the Messianic Age. All that is needed are acts of goodness and kindness, like Bracha Barbara is doing. And by lighting a candle, we are bringing more of that light, more of that warmth, more of the goodness and kindness into the world.”
Guests attending the menorah lighting ceremony are asked to park at the Little Red School House parking lot, located at 944 West Street, since parking is limited at Gilly’s House. Parking is also available on Hancock Street, near the post office and Sheldonville Country Store. Volunteers in reflective vests will direct traffic and assist with parking.
For more information, email Barbara Gillmeister at [email protected].