EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Wednesday is the fourth night of Hanukkah and one community is making it known.

The Jewish Federation of Western Mass was able to secure a $3,500 grant to purchase a six foot outdoor menorah for Easthampton.

The grant funding was provided from Shine A Light, a national initiative that spotlights modern-day antisemitism. The initiative uses positive community outreach, particularly in connection with the story of Hanukkah to champion the message that light can dispel darkness and hatred.

“And so the idea of having a public menorah outdoors and especially in front of a public institution is a real sign that the Jewish people are still here and visible and proud,” Nora Gorenstein, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts told 22News.

And while other communities in Western Massachusetts that have sizeable Jewish communities like Amherst or Longmeadow already have menorah lightings, Easthampton is just now taking part.

Sunday, the first night of Hanukkah, marked the sixth year a group of residents came together to celebrate the Jewish holiday with a candle lighting by the pond, including one year held virtually.
Everyone brings their own menorah, but this year there was the new six foot tall one for everyone to see.

“From an imagery standpoint we always have a choice between darkness and light and shining a light on things and sharing your light with others whether you’re a Jew or a non Jew always brings more positivity into the world than bringing darkness,” said Owen Zaret from Easthampton.

Massachusetts like most places continues to see a rise in antisemitism and both Zarat and Gorenstein told 22News that proudly celebrating the festival of lights is a positive initiative.