Menorah lighting at Dakota Square

Andrea Johnson/MDN Rabbi Yonah Grossman, of Chabad Jewish Center in Fargo, pictured with his daughter Rivka, 6, read prayers and sang songs during the lighting of the menorah at Dakota Square Mall in honor of Hanukkah on Monday evening. Monday was the fifth day of the eight day holiday.

The scope of the ceremony was limited due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the lights of a six-foot Hanukkah menorah in Dakota Square Mall shone as brightly as ever following a lighting ceremony Monday evening.

The Chabad Jewish Center of North Dakota in Fargo stated it is conducting this year’s menorah lightings in Fargo, Bismarck and Minot in recognition of the crucial need for a message of hope during what, for many, is a very difficult time. The center also distributed menorahs, candles and Hanukkah-at-home kits for residents celebrating at home.

Minot’s lighting occurred on the fifth day of the eight-day holiday. This is the second year a menorah has been lit at Dakota Square Mall.

Rabbi Yonah Grossman with the center said Minot’s Jewish community is small, but every individual is important.

“We serve the whole of North Dakota. Minot is a big part of that,” Grossman said.

A public menorah lighting also took place Sunday in Fargo. Another menorah will be lit in the state Capitol in Bismarck Tuesday.

“The menorah serves as a symbol of light and hope for us today amidst the darkness of the pandemic, as it did for generations before us,” Grossman said in a new release regarding the Minot event. “The flames of the menorah shine out into the night, reminding us that even when confronted with much darkness, a tiny light can dispel it all. Another act of goodness and kindness, another act of light, can make all the difference.”

The holiday has added significance this year as many in the Jewish community will be isolated at home on Hanukkah. The Chabad Jewish Center of North Dakota has been on the front lines of providing social, humanitarian and spiritual support to North Dakotans at a time when the virus has hurt many residents, not only those infected but those who have suffered economic and emotional devastation. The COVID-safe menorah lighting is the latest programs created in response to the pandemic. The center also has provided Passover Seders-to-go, Rosh Hashanah shofar porch visits and grocery deliveries for the homebound.

The menorah lighting is part of a worldwide Hanukkah campaign launched in 1973. The campaign highlights and encourages the central theme of the holiday – publicizing the story of the Hanukkah miracle and the victory of light over darkness. Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Temple in 165 BC, after it was reclaimed from Jewish enemies.

This year’s global campaign will see Chabad erect about 15,000 large public menorahs, including in front of landmarks such as the White House, the Eiffel Tower and the Kremlin.


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