Local Community Welcomes the First Night of Hanukkah with Old and New Traditions

Max Rodriguez

Millions of menorahs worldwide light up on the first day of Hanukkah, while in the Coachella Valley the community welcomed the holiday by kindling a nine-foot Hanukkah Menorah at the River in Rancho Mirage with old and new traditions.

Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the second temple in Jerusalem, Jewish soldiers fought for their beliefs back in the second century B.C. when a king outlawed the Jewish religion.

Rabbi Shimon Posner of the Chabad of Rancho Mirage said temples across the world celebrate by lighting the first candle of the Menorah.

Rabbi Posner said, “As nightfall comes, then those lights go on, first it comes on in a community-wide celebration like we’re having right now, from here then everyone goes home and they light the candle in their own house, so across the globe this is happening.”

Many of the Hanukkah traditions have followed many generations but a newer one is taking off, it’s a tradition that requires a firefighter engine and its ladder. The yearly ‘Gelt Drop’ is a rain of chocolate coins and parachuted dreidels and menorahs.

Rabbi Posner said, “That’s totally new, we always improvise and that’s one of the new things of this century and again that’s something that is happening in communities all across America and the world is that fire trucks are coming and making the gelt drop.”

The Hanukkah celebration lasts for eight days, each represents the nights centuries ago when the wicks of the menorah burned in the reclaimed temple when the oil was only enough for one night.

Rabbi Posner said it is the miracle that gives people hope every Hanukkah.

He said, “So even if it looks like it’s impossible and you are against incredible odds don’t worry about that you just do your part and if everyone across the world does their part then the light will shine.”

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