Missing menorah found - lighting ceremony to go ahead

A few anxious moment have not stopped a plan to light a huge public menorah in Stuart Park tonight.

Despite a delay in its arrival from the United States, the lighting of the nine-foot high, nine-candle candle holder, symbolic of the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, will proceed at 5:30 p.m. in Stuart Park, across from Kelonwa City Hall.

As of late Tuesday, the menorah had not arrived in city, said Kelowna officials, who were standing by to put it up in time for the public gathering. On Wednesday, they were relieved that it had arrived and were preparing to install it.

According to the city, the large menorah was delayed at customs and then inadvertantly sent to Vancouver.

In the event that it did not arrive, a small menorah would have been lit in its place during the ceremony in the park.

According to Rabbi Shmeul Hecht, executive director of Chabad Lubavitch of Kelowna and Jewish Learning Institute, tonight's gathering will be open to everyone, not just those of the Jewish faith.

Hecht said while Chanukah officially started Dec. 20, the lighting of the second candle will take place tonight during the public ceremony. He planned to light the first candle himself on Dec. 20.

In a letter to the city asking permission to have the public menorah display, Hecht said the Jewish population in Kelowna will derive much pleasure and enjoyment from the public menorah and, at the same time, the wider community will appreciate the broader concept of religious freedom and cultural expression embodied by the Jewish icon.

City council approved the large menorah display, a nine-candle holder that is used to celebrate Chanukah, earlier this month.

The approval was praised by rookie Coun. Mohini Singh, prominent in the local Indo-Canadian community, who said it signified the spirit of inclusiveness here.

The community menorah will be located a short distance from the large Christian nativity scene that the city sets up in Kerry Park each year to celebrate Christmas.


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