Rabbi Klein lighting the hanukkiyah in Fountain Square.RoundTable Photo

The candles of Hanukkah are lit in the darkness, Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein said, “when it is difficult,” and the candles illuminate the darkness.

About 70 people gathered at Fountain Square on Dec. 10 for the lighting of a small hanukkiyah brought in for the occasion and the larger one erected in the plaza for the season. Guests from Lubavitch Mesvita of Chicago celebrated the occasion with music and dancing as evening approached.

The celebration of Hanukkah represents “the triumph of light over darkness … and freedom over oppression,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. The holiday embraces people of all faiths, she added.

Rabbi Klein said people have two choices when faced with darkness: to battle the negativity or to illuminate the darkness. Shining the light, he said, dispels the darkness. Alluding to the killings of young men that have rocked the community in the past few weeks, … he said, “We have to educate our children … who are angry with each other … to stand up against violence.”

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, echoing the rabbi’s words, acknowledged that violence has escalated among some youth but added that because Evanston is a good community, it will recover. “Evanston is a wonderful town. Fountain Square shows what the community is all about. I cannot celebrate the holidays without having the menorah lit, as well as the Christmas tree.”

With Rabbi Klein, Mayor Tisdahl pulled the switch to light the tall hanukkiyah that stands next to the Christmas tree in Fountain Square.