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Norfolk/Wrentham - Local Town Pages

Fifth Annual Menorah Lighting to be held at Gilly’s House

By Grace Allen

Gilly’s House in Wrentham is holding a public menorah lighting to mark the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. The event will take place on Saturday, December 9 at 6:30 p.m. The outdoor lighting ceremony will include traditional music, dancing, donuts, chocolate gelt and more.

The menorah lighting, to be held on the third night of Hanukkah, is free of charge and open to everyone of all ages and all religious faiths.

Hanukkah is the Jewish eight-day “festival of lights” celebrating the victory of a small group of freedom fighters over powerful Syrian Greeks intent on forcing their culture and religious beliefs on the people of Israel. The holiday also commemorates the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem after victory was secured, during which a single day’s supply of oil miraculously kept the menorah (candelabrum) in the temple lit for eight days, until fresh supplies could be brought in.

According to Rabbi Mendy Kivman of Milford’s Chabad House Jewish Center, the religious holiday teaches that light will overcome darkness, and freedom will overcome oppression. Publicizing the miracle of Hanukkah is part of the laws of Judaism, hence the lighting of the menorah in a place that’s visible to others.

“Every person should be able to follow their religion,” said Rabbi Kivman. “When we light the menorah in public spaces, our message is loud and clear.”

Gilly’s House, a residential program for young men who have struggled with addiction, was founded by Wrentham resident Barbara Gillmeister and her husband in memory of their son Steven.

Gillmeister says this year it’s especially important to spread the message of Hanukkah.

“The menorah lighting is all about Jewish unity,” she said. “There is so much antisemitism right now. The story of Hanukkah stands for religious freedom, and right now Israel is fighting for its freedom. Every year our menorah lighting celebration grows larger, and we hope even more people come out this year to show their support.”

Rabbi Kivman acknowledged the world seems dark right now, but the symbolism of lighting the menorah is important and profound.

“People can spew hate as much as they want, but it only emboldens us to do more,” he said. “I’ve been asked ‘what can I do to help right now?’ And I say the best thing you can do is to be lamplighters along with us. We’re going to bring as much light as possible to the darkness with acts of goodness and kindness. And then we will win over the darkness and our victory will mean the world will be a perfected place.”

For more information or questions about the menorah lighting, email Barbara Gillmeister at [email protected]

Guests attending the event 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.