Jews across America expressed their determination not to become victims of fear on the final night of Chanukah, as they struggled to contend with the aftermath of anti-Semitic attacks aimed at stopping the community from going about its daily affairs and openly showing its Jewish faith.
“We cannot overstate the fear people are feeling right now,” said New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio at a Chabad-Lubavitch ceremony in Grand Army Plaza to light the biggest public menorah in Brooklyn, NY.
“I’ve spoken to longtime friends who for the first time in their lives are fearful to show outwards signs of their Jewish faith. We will not allow this to become the new normal. We’ll use every tool we have to stop these attacks once and for all,” he said.
“The menorah symbolized the positive, the light, the hope. Everyone should remember that hope and act to build it,” De Blasio said.
In Columbus Ohio, Chabad executive director Rabbi Areyah Kaltmann told fans at the annual lighting of a Chanukah menorah at a Blue Jackets’ game, “Light will dispel darkness and goodness will prevail. Do not let darkness extinguish the light!”
It’s the sixth year in a row that Kaltmann has shared the Festival of Lights with Blue Jackets fans in Columbus, he told NBC TV News 4 in an interview after the ceremony.
“We light up the world with acts of goodness and kindness,” Kaltmann told the reporter. “That’s the essence of Chanukah, and that is the antidote to hatred and bigotry.”