Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Sen. Steve Daines to light lead candle at menorah lighting celebration downtown

Chabad Lubavitch of Montana will light up one of 10,000 public menorahs worldwide in downtown Bozeman tonight, symbolizing the universal message of religious freedom.

The public 9-foot menorah erected at First Security Bank at Main Street and Bozeman Avenue will be lit at 6:30 p.m., followed by a community-wide celebration for the first night of Chanukah. Sen. Steve Daines will attend with his wife, Cindy, and will light the lead candle and address the crowd. Following the menorah lighting ceremony, people will sing and eat traditional Chanukah foods of doughnuts and chocolate gelt. 

“As the world and even parts of Montana are experiencing the viciousness of hatred and darkness, the Bozeman community will gather to celebrate light,” said Chabad

Bozeman’s menorah is one of thousands of large public menorahs sponsored by Chabad throughout the world, including in Livingston, Billings, Missoula and at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. 

Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, recalls the victory more than 2,100 years ago of a militarily weak but spiritually strong Jewish people who defeated a ruthless enemy that had overrun ancient Israel and sought to impose restrictions on the Jewish way of life, prohibit religious freedom and force the Jewish people to accept a foreign religion. 

During the occupation of Jerusalem and the temple, the Syrian Greeks desecrated and defiled the oil prepared for the lighting of the menorah, which was part of the daily service in the temple. Upon recapturing the temple from the Syrian Greeks, the Jewish people found only one jar of undefiled oil, enough to burn only one day, but it lasted miraculously for eight days until new, pure olive oil was produced.

In commemoration of this event, the Jewish people celebrate Chanukah for eight days by lighting an eight-branched candelabra known as a menorah. The menorah is placed in a highly visible place to publicize the miracle, with its message of hope and religious freedom to all. 

Today, people of all faiths consider the Chanukah holiday as a symbol and message of the triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, of light over darkness.

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