COLORADO SPRINGS — On the first night of Hanukkah, Jewish communities in Temple Shalom celebrated the lighting of the menorah with latkes, hot chocolate, and songs of rejoicing.
"Hanukkah to me is really about community. That's what I love tonight about Temple Shalom," said Marti Markus who was celebrating the start of the holiday with her family.
Rabbi Jay Sherwood says that when many people think of the holiday, they might remember stories of oil that was supposed to last one day and instead lasted eight. But to him, there is so much more than that.
"The real miracle of Chanukah is that in ancient times, there were people who tried to destroy the Jewish people. They're all gone, and we're still here bringing the light of Torah, the light of goodness, the light of helping other people to the world. The real miracle of Chanukah is not just the light of those candles, but the real miracle is bringing light into other people's lives," said Rabbi Sherwood.
Two Colorado College students came to Temple Shalom for the first time tonight.
"We honestly did not know what to expect, this is our first time in the temple. We really weren't expecting anything, and we got a lot," said Aden Katz.
"It's kind of like walking in on a big family, but they want you to be a part of it," said Asa Gartrell.
Among a recent rise in antisemitic attacks and speech, Markus says she sees a sense of belonging and acceptance in Colorado Springs
"As we all know there are things in the World we can't control and some of those things are scary and unwanted. But when you look at an event like tonight and everyone comes together and embraces each other, regardless of where we're from, who we love, who we're with, that's what I love about tonight," said Markus.
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