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Chabad of Nebraska reinforces universal message with holiday celebration

“Celebrating Chanukah should be cool and fun”
Published: Nov. 28, 2021 at 3:19 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha joins a global celebration of Chanukah with Sunday’s lighting of one of the 15,000 public menorahs in over 100 countries.

A ceremony at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village included the lighting of a menorah of bagels, a first for the state of Nebraska, according to Chabad-Lubavitch of Nebraska.

The eight-day holiday of Chanukah, or Hanukkah, begins Sunday night and features a week of festivities open to the community, including Monday night’s Menorah Parade in Omaha.

“To kind of make it fun, and spread the light out, people should know and experience the miracle,” said Rabbi Eli Tenenbaum, Chabad of Nebraska. “So we like to do something little bit more fun, a little bit more exciting. Bagels are a fun Jewish food people know about so we thought we’d make a menorah out of it and we can see the smile on your face, the camera can’t see it, it’s just a fun thing to do.”

According to Chabad, the holiday and public celebrations symbolize a universal message of religious freedom.

“Every year it’s a new inspiration, it’s a new source of hope, of warmth, of appreciating God’s blessings, and sharing the light. The darker it gets, the more we appreciate that light,” said Rabbi Mendel Katzman, Chabad of Nebraska Executive Director.

Nebraska joined 15,000 others worldwide in the menorah-lighting tradition. At a time when ideological divides have troubled many, Rabbi Katzman sees this holiday as a chance to bring different people together.

“We are now realizing the guy in China and the guy in Omaha who is hiding in his home, are all one. We’re all one, we’re all created by the same God, and God has a mission for each and every individual, and really it’s about creating light, it’s about creating positivity,” he said.

“Celebrating Chanukah should be cool and fun,” said Mushka Tenenbaum.

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