The weekend’s weather forecast looked grim with rain and stormy weather that didn’t seem likely to let up. But Sunday afternoon’s calendar included the annual lighting of the Menorah by Chabad of Santa Clara to commemorate the start of Chanukah — also known as the Festival of Lights — so it was fitting that by the announced start time of 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 22, the rain stopped and the festivities could begin.
Held again at Moonlite Shopping Center on El Camino Real in Santa Clara, the Menorah Lighting had a new location in front of the newly opened Elite Event Center. If the rain hadn’t let up, the festivities would have moved inside, but being outdoors meant for more room for everything that Santa Clara’s Chabad and Rabbi Yigal Rosenberg had for the Santa Clara community. Their event has grown and grown since the first Menorah Lighting Chabad held in 2016.
Even though this was only the fourth Santa Clara Menorah lighting, the list of dignitaries has continued to grow. Topping the list this year and taking the duty of lighting the Shamash candle was Santa Clara County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg.
As at past events, there were bounce houses, potato latkes, a Fire Engine from Santa Clara Fire Station 5, the Santa Clara Police Department D.A.R.E. vehicle, the Santa Clara Library Bookmobile, a dancing Dreidel (performed by the Rabbi’s father-in-law) and fire juggling and break dancing by Rabbi Rosenberg.
The event attracted visitors from all over the South Bay with people attending from Mountain View, Sunnyvale, San Jose and Santa Clara.
“Last year, it was really cold and we got rained on,” said Nathan, a 15-year-old resident from Sunnyvale. “But, this year, the weather and all this space makes this event even better. I couldn’t think of a nicer way to start Chanukah.”
For more information on Chabad and Chanukah, visit Chabad’s webpage: www.jewishsantaclara.com.