COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Across the country, Nov. 28 kicks off the first of eight days and nights of Hanukkah. This year marks a historic moment for the city of Columbus, it is the first year the city has had a menorah and public lighting ceremony downtown.
The 12-foot-tall Menorah stands in the median along Broadway in Uptown, right at 11th street. Mayor Skip Henderson did the honors of lighting the first candle of the menorah. It was lit by a large tiki torch, first, the Shamash was lit, which is the center candle that lights the rest of the menorah.
Mayor Henderson tells News 3, “this community has so many different faiths and traditions, and every one of them is so valuable in making Columbus an incredible place to live … the Jewish community here in our city historically, has helped shape the way our community is today going back into the 1800s so it’s just a very very big deal. I think it’s long overdue.”
Rabbi Polin with the Temple of Israel in Columbus addressed the community with words of encouragement. He reminded those in attendance what Hanukkah is about, “it means rebirth, renewal, reaffirmation of faith and community,” said Polin.
Rabbi Polin says the support of the city of Columbus and Mayor Skip Henderson is really special, “we don’t have that elsewhere in other places across the world, we have that opportunity in this country and we are very grateful for that.”
Polin tells News 3, “it says a lot for this to be at the center of our town, to be alongside Christmas celebrations … it’s an equal footing and that’s also what the holidays are about, it’s about equality … it’s great that we have that ability and opportunity here in this country and in this city.”
The menorah will stand tall in the heart of Columbus through the evening of Dec. 6, the last night of Hanukkah.