Menorah Lighting in the Palisades

(Left to right) Billy Crystal, Janice Crystal and Rabbi Zushe Cunin at 30th Annual Palisades Menorah lighting at the new Palisades Village. Photos: Courtesy Palisades Village.

Billy Crystal, Mike Bonin, Rabbi Zushe Cunin and more welcome in Hanukkah.

By Keldine Hull

Sunday, December 2, marked the first night of Hanukkah and a weeklong celebration of unity and love. Chabad of the Pacific Palisades celebrated the 30th Annual Palisades Menorah lighting at Rick Caruso’s new Palisades Village.

The free event, which was open to the entire community, began at 4 p.m., with fun activities for local children, including Hanukkah-themed arts and crafts, face painting and balloon twisting. The ceremony began at 6 p.m. with words of inspiration by Rabbi Zushe Cunin, Rick Caruso, and Councilmembr Mike Bonin. Also in attendance were Honorary Mayors of the Palisades, award-winning actor and comedian Billy Crystal, who helped in the planning of the event, and his wife, actor and producer Janice Crystal. There were performances by the Marquez Elementary Choir, Paul Revere Music Club and the Westside Waldorf School. It was the largest turnout for the annual celebration to date with an estimated 800 to 1,000 people in attendance.

Sufganiyah (Jewish donuts) were a popular item at the Menorah Lighting.

Those involved with the celebration welcomed the opportunity to unite the community and offer hope in the aftermath of a string of tragic events that have affected multiple communities. On October 27, eleven people were killed during an attack at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, marking the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history. The Thousand Oaks community was rocked by a tragic mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill that took the lives of twelve people. The catastrophic Camp and Woolsey fires saw the loss of thousands of homes and nearly 100  lives.

Students from Marquez Elementary put on a musical performance prior to the Menorah lighting.

“Before the Menorah lighting, we did a unity lighting to be mindful and send light to those who were impacted by the devastating fires, and the attacks in Thousand Oaks and Pittsburgh,” Rabbi Zushe explains. “We invited other pastors, synagogues and first responders. It was a wonderful community effort and a great moment of unity.”

During a time of heightened bigotry and violence towards specific communities, including the Jewish community, the 30th Annual Palisades Menorah lighting was organized to instill hope and faith. Their message was inclusive and spoke to everyone from all walks of life and different faiths. “That was why we had this unity event,” Rabbi Zushe continues. “The only way to combat darkness is by bringing light, and that’s what we’re all doing. We’re sharing more light with our neighbors. The more light we share, the more darkness we eliminate.”

(Left to right) Rick Caruso, Rabbi Zushe Cunin and Councilmember Mike Bonin.

If you missed the Menorah lighting, there are plenty of other events coming up to celebrate Hanukkah, including a Friday night dinner. To learn more about what to do and where to go, visit www.chabadpalisades.com.

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