The menorah stands for light, wisdom and divine inspiration and the light of its candles is a reminder of past miracles. That message transcends all faiths.
Menorah candles are lit in Jewish households ever year as part of the eight-day Chanukah celebration, which translates to “rededication.” There is no better time than now to rededicate our commitment to Detroit’s continued transformation – downtown and in the neighborhoods – as well as a personal rededication to perform wonders in our lives.
You can be part of the celebration. The sixth annual Menorah in the D will take place on Tuesday, December 27 from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in downtown Detroit’s Cadillac Square. The community-wide event is free and hosted by The Shul of West Bloomfield in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and Chabad of Greater Downtown Detroit along with generous support from Quicken Loans and other various sponsors.
These groups host the event to renew a sense of Jewish identity and welcome people of all ages, religions and backgrounds to the city for a night of celebration.
“The menorah being placed in the heart of the city of Detroit is a reminder to us all that we should continually work to illuminate the world around us,” says Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov, spiritual advisor and founder of The Shul of West Bloomfield. “It’s an honor to be able to share the warmth and joy of Chanukah with all the Jewish families throughout Southeastern Michigan.”
You can come down as early as 3:00 p.m., and spend time in the 40 by 260 foot heated, large tent in Cadillac Square in the heart of Campus Martius Park. Bring the kids. They will have a great time with Legos, crafts, face painting, interactive experiments. All activities are free, except zip line rides, which are $10.
The ceremony begins at 5:00 p.m. when the giant steel-and-glass menorah created by local artists, Erik and Israel Nordin of the Detroit Design Center, will be lit signifying the fourth night of Chanukah. In addition to the traditional lighting of the menorah, attendees will enjoy performances by fire jugglers and acrobats.
There will also be quite a bit of (obviously kosher) food for sale inside and outside the tent. The preparation is led by Chef Cari, who has extensive experience that includes graduating from the Natural Gourmet Cookery Institute for Food and Healing in New York.
The after party begins at 6:00 p.m., at which point, live shows and music, a beer garden and Afterglow help celebrate the fourth night of a long ago miracle even more festively.
The menorah is seen as a beacon of hope to the people of a city in difficult times. It stems back to a time when the Jews, led by Mattathias the Hasmonean and his son Judah Maccabee, revolted against the Greeks, who controlled the land of Israel and had desecrated the Temple. No one knows exactly how large this Maccabee army was, but even the most optimistic estimates put the number at no more than 12,000 men. This small group takes on the fighting Greek army of up to 40,000 men, according to Judaism Online.
The revolution succeeded and the Temple was rededicated.
According to Jewish history as recorded in the Talmud, at the time of the rededication there was very little oil left that had not been defiled by the Greeks. Oil was needed for the menorah (candelabrum) in the Temple and it needed to burn throughout each night for eight days. There was only enough oil to burn for one day, but a miraculously it burned for all eight. Chanukah commemorates that miracle.
In the years since its inception, the Menorah in the D has become a welcome yearly event for Jews and gentiles alike in metro Detroit.
“Activating the city during the holiday season, while attracting more and more visitors to enjoy downtown, is a huge priority for Bedrock,” says Jim Ketai, CEO of Bedrock. “We’re thrilled to help light up Detroit with the Menorah in the D event.”
These menorah candles are a symbol of lighting the darkness for all of us, and this grand Menorah downtown promises to do the same.
For more information and to RSVP for the event, please visit www.menorahinthed.com.