MLA George Heyman addresses the crowd at the lighting of the Silber Family Agam Menorah (below) on Dec. 25. (photo by Glenn Berlow)
There were many Chanukah celebrations that took place around the Lower Mainland last month. Here are but a sampling of the events that were held to mark the holiday.
Despite the frigid weather, more than 200 people gathered on Dec. 25 for the annual lighting of Canada’s tallest menorah, the Silber Family Agam Menorah.
The menorah is usually placed outside of Vancouver Art Gallery but, due to construction, it was placed outside of the Vancouver Central Library on West Georgia Street this Chanukah. The program included greetings from MLA George Heyman, Rabbi Avraham Feigelstock, Herb Silber and Rabbi Yitzchak Wineberg. B.C. Premier Christy Clark sent her greetings to be read at the event as well.
– Lubavitch BC
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On Dec. 25, the third Iron Chef Chanukah took place, hosted once again by the Centre for Judaism of the Lower Fraser Valley.
“Rabbi and Simie Schtroks really know how to throw a party!” said chef Marat Dreyshner. “This was my third Iron Chef Chanukah competition and it gets better each year. Young and old joined together for an evening of lights, song, great food and amazing fun.”
“It was an evening that warmed my Yiddishe kishke,” one of the guests commented, echoing the sentiments of many.
After the competition, guests sat and shmoozed with Rabbi Falik and Rebbetzin Simie Schtroks into the night. A first-time attendee was overheard saying, “I am so glad that I came. This place really feels like one warm family. It really lifted my spirits.”
– Centre for Judaism
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On Dec. 26, the third night of Chanukah was marked in the plaza of Richmond Public Library and Cultural Centre with a celebration that included the lighting of a 25-foot steel menorah designed by the late Arthur Erickson and fabricated by Ebco Industries Ltd.
MLA Teresa Wat was in attendance and addressed the more than 300 people who braved the difficult weather conditions to come out for the community event, which also featured kids entertainment and Chanukah treats.
Some of the companies and organizations involved were the Bayit synagogue (Rabbi Levi Varnai and president Michael Sachs), Chabad of Richmond, the City of Richmond, Richmond Public Library and Cultural Centre, and Helmet and Hugo Eppich from Ebco Group of Companies. Joe Dasilva was a main organizer.
– The Bayit
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Approximately 120 people attended the annual Centre for Judaism’s public menorah lighting at the Semiahmoo Shopping Centre on Dec. 29.
MLA Marvin Hunt, White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin and councilors Dave Woods, Helen Fathers, Mike Starchuk and Rudy Storteboom joined the celebration and brought greetings from their cities and from the government of British Columbia. Rabbi Yitzchak Wineberg, director of Lubavitch BC, and his wife, Rebbetzin Henia Wineberg, also joined the Centre for Judaism’s Rabbi Falik and Rebbetzin Simie Schtroks for the evening.
Although MP Dianne Watts was sick with the flu, she made sure to call Simie Schtroks prior to the event. She also sent a letter of greetings on behalf of the Government of Canada. In the letter, she stated her support for the Jewish people and the state of Israel, especially at this time.
Jason Aginsky was awarded the Centre for Judaism’s Lamplighter Award. Aginsky was the second-youngest participant in the B.C. Ride to Conquer Cancer in August 2016, when he rode the 250 kilometres from Surrey to Seattle over two days. He raised more than $4,000 for the cause.
Cantor Yaakov Orzech lit the menorah and sang Chanukah songs. Musical entertainment, including “The Baal Shem’s Niggun,” was provided by violinist Robert Rozek, one of his students, Rebecca Bukhman, and her mother, musician Rada Bukhman. The talented young harpist Adina Ragetli also entertained the audience with Jewish songs.
Not to be forgotten was a quick game of Let’s Make a Chanukah Deal, as well as doughnuts, chocolate gelt and dreidel glasses.
– Centre for Judaism