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Menorah lighting marks celebration of Hanukkah

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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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