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About 70 people gathered in Fountain Square on Dec. 14 for the lighting of two menorahs – the City’s menorah, set up on the east side of the plaza and equipped with light bulbs, and a smaller hannukiyiah, enclosed in glass to protect the lighted candles.
The Cheder boys’ choir sang a medley of Hanukkah songs, and Mordechai Moskowitz lighted the hannukiyiah.
Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein spoke to the assembled. He said, “Hanukkah is one of my favorite holidays – not only because we give gifts and light the menorah, but what makes Hanukkah so special is the sense of freedom. We educate our children; we educate our community with increased light, increased peace and increased freedom. … Friends, we live in a violent world. There is violence in the Middle East and in other parts of the world – even in our own homes, our families. … . To shed light in the world and bring tranquility into our homes and dispel the darkness – this is the message of Hanukkah.”
Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said, “Fountain Square is supposed to be the heart of downtown Evanston, and tonight Fountain Square feels very much like the heart of downtown Evanston. … I agree with everything Rabbi Klein said. A sense of community is an answer to violence, an answer
to hatred, darkness and oppression.”
Guided by Rabbi Klein, Mayor Tisdahl, Seventh Ward Alderman Jane Grover, Sixth Ward Alderman Mark Tendam, Fire Chief Alan Berkowsky and Police Chief Richard Eddington pressed the switch to light five of the menorah’s bulbs. Music played as the crowd dispersed, and in the dim light of the menorah and the Christmas tree, near the war memorials, a group of men and boys danced the dances of peace and freedom.