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Parade, events to kick off Festival of Lights

December 2, 2007
Alan Morrell
Staff writer
Hanukkah will start a little differently this year in Monroe County.

Giant menorahs again will be lighted at various sites, including Washington Square Park downtown, Twelve Corners in Brighton, Wegmans Food Markets in Pittsford and the Medley Centre in Irondequoit.
This year, though, local Jewish leaders are taking the celebration on the road. A "car menorah parade" will be held from Washington Square Park to Twelve Corners, with metal, electric-powered menorahs mounted on the roofs of cars. The parade will proceed down Monroe Avenue.
"We're going to turn Monroe Avenue into 'menorah avenue,'" said Rabbi Nechemia Vogel, director of Chabad Lubavitch, a Jewish outreach educational organization.
"We've never done this before. One of the unique features of Hanukkah is that it is meant to be done in a way that's very public, unlike other Jewish holidays," said Lubavitch. "Even when people are lighting menorahs at home, it's done in a window."
A variety of events will be held throughout the area to celebrate Hanukkah, including:
•  A menorah lighting and celebration will occur outside Wilson Commons, on the University of Rochester campus, at 6 p.m. Tuesday. An a capella singing group, the Yellowjackets, will perform.
•  A "Build-a-Bear" workshop, with a Hanukkah sing-along party, will be held at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Summit at Brighton, 2000 Summit Circle Drive.
•  A Hanukkah party will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Eastman School of Music, 26 Gibbs St.
•  Menorah Making at Wolk Manor, will be at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Wolk Manor, 4000 Summit Circle Drive.
•  A gala Hanukkah concert for the Russian Jewish community will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Jewish Community Center, 1200 Edgewood Ave., Brighton.
•  A Hanukkah party will be held at Rochester Institute of Technology's Skalny Room, featuring a menorah-building contest, at 8 p.m. Saturday.
•  "Chanukah: Jewish Festival of Lights," presented by the Hillel School, will be held at 1 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Eisenhart Auditorium of the Rochester Museum & Science Center, 657 East Ave.
•  Hanukkah Family Bowl will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 9 at Clover Lanes, 2750 Monroe Ave., with a menorah lighting, latkes and "building the largest menorah in the world."
Hanukkah has a universal message that appeals to everyone, Vogel said.

"It's the message of light versus darkness, and light winning, and bringing light to the entire community," he said.

What is Hanukkah?
Hanukkah is the annual Jewish celebration that commemorates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem in 165 B.C. Held over eight successive days, Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of Kislev, the third month of the Jewish calendar, and usually occurs in November-December in the Gregorian calendar. Hanukkah begins this year at sunset Tuesday. It is also known as the Festival of Lights, the Feast of Dedication and Feast of the Maccabees.