One menorah was ten feet tall. Another could be measured in inches.

Both were part of a Hanukkah observance Monday night on Fountain Square, on the second night of the eight-night Jewish “Festival of Lights.”

Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein, director of Evanston’s Tannenbaum Chabad, presided over the ceremony, commenting that “the real message is I’m going to care about you today, and tomorrow even more.”

Hanukkah commemorates the victory of Jewish freedom fighters (the Maccabees) over the Syrian-Greeks nearly 2,200 years ago.

The story has it that when the victors went to rededicate the Temple in Jerusalem, there was only enough oil to burn for one night. However, the story continues, due to a miracle, the oil burned for eight nights, which is why one candle per night is lit for eight days in the celebration.

Rabbi Klein also told Evanston Now that with the significant growth of antisemitism in the United States recently, it is “extremely important to show Jewish solidarity and pride” by having a public menorah ceremony.

About 75 people watched, sang, and danced in the freezing temperatures.

While Hanukkah has both a religious and political (freedom) meaning, it also means treats and gifts, particularly for children.

State Sen. Laura Fine said that “as a Jewish mother” whose kids are now grown up, part of Hanukkah is that “we light up on the inside when we see our children light up on the outside.”

Northwestern student Trevor Abbott lights tabletop menorah at Fountain Square.

For many, the timing of Hanukkah humorously centers on whether it comes “early” (close to Thanksgiving), or “late” (close to Christmas).

Actually, however, on the Jewish lunar calendar, Hanukkah always comes on the 25th day of the month of Kislev.

It “floats” on the Gregorian (solar) calendar used by most of the world, because the lunar and solar months do not directly overlap.

So in reality, Hannukah is never really “early” or “late.” Once again, it was just on time.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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