NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) — The Jewish community celebrated the 7th night of Hanukkah on Saturday evening, with a festival of ‘Laser’ lights at Pine Theater in Look Park.
The event was organized by the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, in partnership with six other local organizations. The festival included a light show with a giant menorah to celebrate the holiday.
22News spoke with Keren Rhodes, the director of Communal Life and Learning at the Jewish Community of Amherst.
In years like this when it’s so far ahead of Christmas, it can be really hard for Jewish families to put time aside from their regular lives to come together as families and communities to celebrate. By making events like these happen we help people to find the time,” Rhodes said.
Families were bundled up in their snow gear, as flurries began falling during the celebration. 22News also spoke with Nora Gorenstein, the interim executive director of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. Gorenstein said they’d been planning to host a similar event in 2020, but the pandemic put a hold on their original plans and they had to postpone until now.
“We’re here with these public light displays, shining out light publicly, bringing everyone in, welcoming anyone to attend, and I think it really sends a great message about our community,” Gorenstein said.
Organizers told 22News that roughly 500 people had pre-registered for the event online, however, they predicted close to 600 attended the festival in Look Park.
“Oh it’s thrilling to be able to see this many Jewish people come together to celebrate is not something we see very often,” Rhodes said.
Those who visited the festival were also able to drive through the park’s holiday light display. Both the festival and light display were free and open the public.
The celebration of Hanukkah comes to an end at sundown on Monday.