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Menorah lighting marks celebration of Hanukkah


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, kicked off Saturday at sundown. Sunday night members of Wilmington's Jewish community came together for a menorah lighting ceremony in celebration of the holiday.

This is the first year the City of Wilmington has allowed the nine-foot downtown menorah, which was made in part by kids, to stay in Riverfront Park for all eight days of Hanukkah. Members of Chabad of Wilmington say they are thankful for the opportunity to share their holiday spirit with the Cape Fear.

"I am very happy the the city of Wilmington and the mayor has allowed us to put up a menorah in downtown Wilmington to celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah," said Chabad member Gary Mendelshon.

Mendel Lieblich said, "This year was the best, because all the other years we had it for only one day. This year we have it for all eight."

A large crowd enjoyed many festivities like a juggling act, the lighting of the menorah and singing and dancing. Doughnuts and chocolate coins were available, and many kids could be seen playing with dreidels on the sidewalk.

Rabbi Moshe Lieblich explained the meaning behind the lighting of the menorah.

"We light it outside at nighttime, so it's a message of light pushing away darkness," he said. "It's a message which applies to everybody"

The rabbi says he is thankful he was given the ability to bring a special event with deep meaning to the Cape Fear.

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Menorrah / Nativity

The Menorrah is a religious symbol for the Jewis faith. The Christmas tree is NOT a religious symbol for any faith -- it's a holiday adornment.
However, the Nativity is a religious symbol for the Christian faith and symbolizes the birth of Christ in Bethlehem -- the reason Christians celebrate and observe Christmas.
Many people celebrate Christmas by attending parties, exchanging gifts, lighting Christmas trees, making lists for Santa Claus, etc.
But the core of Christmas for Christians is celebrating the birth of Christ -- and the nativity is the religious symbol for that celebration -- not Santa, not a tree.
If a menorrah can be displayed in a public area, then a nativity scene should also be displayed since they both are religious symbols. That would be equality for both faiths.


I demand the city put up a Festivus Pole for the rest of us!

Snapshot of the history of the "Christmas" tree

All people should be allowed to express there religious beliefs openly without persecution and I am happy that the Jewish community is allowed to display ONE Menorah downtown to celebrate Hanukkah. Also, I have no problem with the "holiday" parade. I think it gives us all a chance to come together and not be separated by hatred for each other because of our religious beliefs.

Yes, Christians should be able to call the big tree by the river a Christmas tree ... that is what it is. But, before you start raising a stink about the Menorah being displayed and this tree being called a "holiday" tree, you should read about the history of the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree tradition started in the 16th century in Germany and when brought to the US in the 19th century most American Christians saw the Christmas tree and other decorations as unpure, pagan symbols. The practice of decorating for Christmas and putting up a Christmas tree was widely unaccepted by American Christians for quite sometime and the tradition is quite young. So, before you go blaming the use of "holiday" instead of "Christmas" on minority religions and atheists, you may want to check with your fellow Christians.

On top of that, Christmas has become a holiday of greed. We should give and love all year long. The true Christian meaning seems to become more lost each year.

Love to all and to all a good night.


Why the WWAY. Mention the Jewish holiday
And they never say something about Muslm
Holiday about month ago that raises from
Local station from WILMINGTON. The Moslim
Community is part of WILMINGTON.
Thanks. And we hope love each other and
Don't make hard and defferent

I agree

I'm very happy about the menorah being displayed downtown. However, I also agree with the other posts here that the City should start saying CHRISTMAS tree and CHRISTMAS parade. Call it what it is! You certainly do that for other religions, so why not Christians?

No Objection Whatsoever

As an observant Jew, I can categorically state that neither I, nor any of my friends have any objection to a Christmas tree being called a Christmas tree. As a matter of fact, we believe calling it anything but a Christmas tree is misleading and wrong.

We attribute this nonsense to the false notion of 'political correctness' which bars religion in the public domain.


said! I think what you will find is that MOST faiths are tolerant of others and really don't have issues with Menorahs, Christmas trees, etc. Its those who scream tolerance who are the LEAST tolerant. I would say the LEAST tolerant of others rights are atheists and muslims.


Its NOT A MENORAH, its a...a....a....Holiday Metal Candle Holder...YEAH..THATS IT!

People, as a life long Baptist...I can say...this does not and never has offended me. Drive by one EVERY DAY on Market Street. Never once have I been offended. People need to stop being offended by every little thing they see. Just because the city puts up a Christmas tree isn't a reason to get all up in arms. Nobody is marching you down at gunpoint to sing "Fah who foraze"

But we can't call it Christmas tree???

So they can call this a Menorah to celebrate their tradition but yet we can't say Christmas tree or Merry Christmas.

How wrong is that? To me no matter what your beliefs, religion are celebrate what you want and say what you want. It's call freedom of speech. If you don't like a certain holiday, a saying, or tradition then don't celebrate it or pay attention to it. So what if they take offense to it. We are not here to please everyone.

So the way I look at it Merry Christmas America and my Christmas tree is up in my house and decorated, and all my Christmas lights and Christmas decorations are hung thru out the house and outside.

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Place the blame elsewhere

I am absolutely certain that our disgust with the change from Christmas to "Holiday" tree has nothing to do with our Jewish community. The problem lies entirely with the atheist and muslim communities and our weak-willed politicians that want to appease them at every opportunity.That is where our anger should be focused.

Be Proud of the Reason for the Season - Dont Hide it

I think it is fantastic that the Jewish community has the opportunity to display their important religious symbol publically. The importance of the menorah displays their faith and the diversity of our community.

I wonder why Christians must hide their reason for the season by having no nativity scenes on public property and are forced to watch a "holiday tree" tree lighting, the "holiday parade", and see our school children enjoy their "winter break" from school.

Just like the menorah, Christmas is not a bad word or a word to be hidden and avoided.

The Menorah IS a religious

The Menorah IS a religious symbol. If we accept the notion that the Christian Nativity scene has no place in the "public square" than it is improper that a Menorah is allowed to be displayed.


Someone wrote previously, and I fully agreed, why is this not called a holiday candle?????? We can't call our tree what it is, a "Christmas Tree", because we don't want to "offend" anyone...... well? Will whoever made the decision to call the tree a holiday tree, but not the Menorah a holiday candle, please explain their rationale? I am all for representing all faiths, no problem, but, NOT calling a Christmas tree what it is and calling a Menorah what it is seems to me to be hypocritical and it really offends me. Obviously offending Christians doesn't matter. So, Wilmington, please explain?

I believe you mean "Holiday

I believe you mean "Holiday Candlestick"


The Menorah down town is a welcome sight, I hope to see it. I look forward also to seeing a CHRISTMAS Tree down town again.


They can call it what it is but they want the CHRISTMAS TREE called a holiday tree. Just not right. There is no other holiday that has a tree. So call it what it is A CHRISTMAS TREE!!!!!!! Seems everyone has rights except for Christians.


If those of "power" in this city force the desecration of Christmas upon us by lighting a "Holiday Tree," then why is this not a "Holiday Candle Holder?" I have never seen a tree put up for Easter, Thanksgiving, Independence Day or any other holiday!! Trees are put up and lit for the celebration of Christmas! Hence the name Christmas Tree. I am tired of it some how being acceptable to diminish my religion. It disgusts me. I am not trying to diminish the Jewish religion at all, it is a Menorah!! My point here is it is a CHRISTMAS TREE!!!!!