Members of the Colorado Springs community celebrated Hannukah by lighting an ice menorah on the fifth night of the celebration this month at Chabad Lubavitch of Southern Colorado in Rockrimmon.
Attendees of all ages bundled up to face the freezing temperatures and light the menorah outside the Chabad, the Jewish community center. Menorahs are typically lit outdoors or in a window to share the miracle of Hannukah with the world.
“The whole message of Hannukah is to illuminate, and brighten and (warm),” said Rabbi Moshe Liberow, director of Chabad Lubavitch of Southern Colorado of the “cool” idea behind the ice menorah. “So taking something like an ice menorah and lifting it with warmth and light ... is a great idea of the whole message of Hannukah.”
The eight-day celebration commemorates God’s provision for the Jewish people in a time of trouble. When a small group of Jewish people defending their faith only had enough oil to keep the Temple’s Menorah lit for one night, it miraculously stayed lit for eight days.
“Like every time a person celebrates a great occasion they always want to celebrate with family and friends,” Liberow said. “Hannukah is a Jewish holiday (that has) been celebrated for close to 2,100 years, and not just is it what we call continuing, but it’s actually growing.”
The Chabad has hosted menorah lightings and community events throughout the city in previous years, providing a place for the Jewish community to gather and fellowship. This year’s event marked the 18th year of the Chabad’s presence in Colorado Springs. According to Liberow, 18 signifies life and growth, making this year’s event special.
Mayor John Suthers spoke at the lighting, congratulating the Chabad Lubavitch on its 18 years in the community, and thanking them for serving as a point of fellowship, education, family, and community outreach.
“It’s a responsibility of each of us to live our lives in a way that will make us (good) ancestors to those who will come after us,” Suthers said. “That’s a weighty, but a very important and exciting responsibility, but it’s one that the Chabad has already embraced by teaching your traditions to your children and by opening your celebrations to the public tonight.
“It’s these positive and inclusive community memberships keep us connected. I encourage everyone here to stay engaged and connected in our community.”
Chaplain Maj. Michael Bram, Jewish chaplain at the United States Air Force Academy, also spoke and discussed the traditions of Hannukah and the Jewish community, saying that he believed the real miracle of Hannukah was that their ancestors had the faith to trust God to meet their needs.
“I don’t have the resources I need, I don’t have everything I need to do a mitzvah (a religious good deed) properly, but I’m going to do it anyway,” Bram said of the priest who had the faith to take a risk and light the menorah. “What happened? God took care of him.”
Bram encouraged the audience to take a lesson from Hannukah and to take a step of faith and trust God, regardless of the circumstances.
“It’s not always easy to maintain our cultural integrity as a small group in a large country,” Bram said, noting his love for the country. “It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make that jump, to say I’m going to represent my faith, and my people, and culture, and my God. I’ll just take that one little jump. That one little leap, and God will help me take care of the rest. That’s what Hannukah is, taking a risk, even if I don’t have everything I need.”
The menorah was lit by Mayor Suthers and Air Force Cadet 4th Class, Jonathan Soferr, who also read a traditional blessing. After the ceremony, guests returned to the warmth of the Jewish Center and shared a time of fellowship, fun, and food.