He’s no weather expert, but Rabbi Zvi Konikov says the first night of Hanukkah will see a strong chance of snow mingled with food, music, and enough light to warm the soul.
That’s the forecast as Konikov makes final preparations to commemorate Hanukkah with its annual Grand Menorah lighting and festival at the Chabad of the Space and Treasure Coast’s Viera synagogue on Sunday.
Hip Hop concert
There will even be a Hip Hop concert by Nosson Zand, a Jewish artist from Boston.
“Hanukkah is about giving and sharing the light with others. We ask the question, ‘how can I illuminate someone else’s life and bring goodness to them,” Konikov said.
Hanukkah menorah lighting
“We will light the Hanukkah menorah deliberately at dark to show that we are bringing light, warmth to the spirit. This is about the rededication of the temple and everyone is invited,” Konikov added, noting that the light is symbolic of also overcoming humanity’s own challenges.
This year, the Thanksgiving holiday dovetails into the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah, the wintertime Festival of Dedication. As part of the lead-up to Thanksgiving, the congregation handed out turkeys and other food Wednesday during its Give Back drive-thru distribution.
“We prepared about 2,000 packages of food to give to everyone,” Konikov said. “We’re just thankful we’re able to give back.”
Hanukkah begins Sunday at sundown and is marked by special prayers, special foods like latkes – fried potato cakes – and jelly-filled doughnuts along with the nightly lightings of a nine-branched menorah at home and outside.
Hanukkah commemorates the Jewish people’s victory over the Syrian Greeks who overran ancient Israel and desecrated the Holy Temple. After the temple was retaken, only one jar of undefiled oil was found to light the large menorah in the temple. The oil was only enough for one day’s use but instead lasted for eight days, a miracle, according to tradition.
Hanukkah Car Parade
The biggest public event for Brevard’s Jewish community continues to be the traditional Hanukkah Car Parade, with about 100 cars participating.
The parade, with menorahs and holiday signs attached, will leave the Chabad of the Space and Treasure Coast synagogue in Satellite Beach at 3:30 p.m.
The procession will wind across the Pineda Causeway and then arrive at the Chabad center’s Viera location at 7350. The congregation will then host a Snow Festival with actual machine-made snow and feature concession stands with barbecue and other goods. Zand will also perform at the site. “He’s known to electrify the crowd and is pretty impressive,” Konikov said.
“We’re creating the environment with snow machines and mounds of snow. This year it’s going to snow in Florida,” he said. “For many, lighting the menorah in the snow is illuminating, warming to the soul,” the rabbi said.
Konikov will direct the lighting of a Grand Menorah shortly after sundown.