Jewish Community to Celebrate Chanukah Together

Press release from Lubavitch-Chabad Jewish Student and Community Center

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – On the eve of Sunday, December 18, the Jewish community will begin to celebrate Chanukah known as the Festival of Lights.

To kick off and celebrate the 8-day holiday, the Lubavitch-Chabad Jewish Student and Community Center is offering a variety of community-wide programs for all ages.

On Sunday, December 18, the Lubavitch-Chabad Jewish Student and Community Center will stage its 23rd annual Chanukah Factory, where children and their families will craft their very own Menorah and enjoy activities and traditional Hot latkes and Sufganiot. “The Chanukah Factory at Lowe’s on 13th street is designed to give a ‘hands-on’ experience and infuse Chanukah excitement in the children so they are ready for the holiday with their own handmade Menorah,” said Rabbi Berl Goldman. The event will take place at 1:00 p.m.

On Tuesday, December 20, the Center will host their famous Lox n Latkes brunch for senior citizens in the community. This Chanukah event creates a community atmosphere where seniors come together to express and practice their faith with good food, music, and joy. The event will take place at 11:30 a.m.

On Wednesday, December 21, the fourth night of Chanukah, the Downtown Chanukah Festival and Grand Menorah Lighting will get underway at 5:00 p.m. at the Bo Diddley Downtown Community Plaza (E. University Ave. corner SE First St.). Many dignitaries will be on hand to join in the celebration of Chanukah and deliver Holiday greetings. City and County Commissioners have confirmed their participation at the event. The Menorah lighting will be preceded by the kindling of the flame of unity, peace, and freedom, honoring and thanking the U.S. armed forces around the world, as well as our healthcare heroes. The program will also feature Chanukah music, a live performance show, Chanukah kits with traditional hot latkes, tasty doughnuts, Dreidels, Menorahs, and Chanukah “Gelt.” As citizens of this great country, it is essential to express our religious freedom, and this program will reveal unprecedented Jewish pride and appreciation of the freedoms that we don’t take for granted. The largest Menorah in Alachua County will be on display and lit during the program.

Throughout the holiday, “The lights of Chanukah shine bright for eight days, transmitting warmth and optimism, and spreading the message of hope to all who see her lights,” said Rabbi Berl Goldman, director of the Center. “During these challenging times, Chanukah gives hope for a bright and healthy future ahead. It is also a most appropriate time to honor and thank those who risk their lives for all of us, helping, healing, and guaranteeing our safety,” he added. “Chanukah has symbolized the power of a little light outshining the darkness, and that ultimately, good will triumph over evil, and freedom will prevail. We are lucky to live in a country that grants us religious freedom and the opportunity to display our glorious lights,” said Chanie Goldman, co-director of the Center.

The holiday of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, commemorates the victory of a small Jewish force against a tremendous Greek army, which was seeking to spiritually and physically annihilate the Jews. Chanukah, highlighted by the kindling of the Menorah for eight days, is celebrated each year, as we continue to give thanks for freedom.

The Lubavitch-Chabad Jewish Student and Community Center of Alachua County is a branch of the Lubavitch-Chabad movement, an international Chassidic organization under the leadership of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of righteous memory. With over 5,000 centers around the globe, it is by far the largest network of Jewish religious and social services in the world. In its Chanukah outreach campaign, The Gainesville Center joins hundreds of Chabad-Lubavitch Centers across the globe, which publicize the universal message of Chanukah and bring the joy of Chanukah throughout the world.