Greg Canuel, The Daily Fairfield

Hanukkah’s Peaceful Rituals Return

The symbolism of Sunday's menorah lighting was not lost on Rabbi Shlame Landa. Chabad of Fairfield's second annual ceremony at the Sherman Green gazebo was much more peaceful and joyous than last year's, when a trio of white supremacists arrived carrying Nazi flags. Landa said this year's ceremony served as a potent example of the true meaning of Hanukkah.

"The menorah tells us that light will always prevail over darkness, that good will always prevail over evil," Landa said. "And tonight, I think that with everybody here, we have proved that this is certainly true."

Hanukkah, which this year runs from Dec. 1 through 9, commemorates the victory of the Jewish Maccabees over the Syrian invaders in Biblical accounts. Each night, Jewish families light one more candle on the menorah as a reminder of the event. On Sunday, the fifth night of Hanukkah, Fairfield's Joe Macy lit five candles on the large menorah on the Green with about 100 people in attendance. Instead of being deterred by last year's incident, many, including Jonathan Lerner, came out to show solidarity.

"We know that there were bad events that happened last year, so we wanted to come out and strengthen the numbers," Jonathan said.

Once they arrived, the people were ready to celebrate. Igor and Rayham Pasternak played traditional songs, and many took to dancing. Chabad sponsored horse-drawn buggy rides around the downtown area for kids. And once the menorah was lit, the crowd swarmed the spread of latkes and jelly doughnuts.

Warren Rockmacher, who brought his family in from Trumbull for the event, summed up the event.

"I look forward to it every year," Warren said. "It's great to take the family out, show our support and celebrate the holiday."