Chabad Jewish Center Celebrates Chanu
First published in the Nov. 26 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.
Sunday night was the beginning of the Festival of Lights — or Chanukah — and it also means new highlights for the Jewish community in South Pasadena.
There is a new temple in town — the Chabad Jewish Center of South Pasadena — which is hosting a Chanukah celebration on Monday, Nov. 29 at 5 p.m., at 1017 Mission St.
Chabad had earlier announced that it was opening a center at a time and place to be announced.
Rabbi Dovid Harlig, director of the center, said that people have been very receptive when he’s visited families in South Pasadena. The center will offer services in addition to adult education and youth activities.
This will be the fourth center in the San Gabriel Valley for Chabad-Lubavitch. Its website defines Chabad as a philosophy, a movement and an organization. The philosophy guides a person to refine and govern his or her every act and feeling through wisdom, comprehension and knowledge.
Lubavitch is the town in Russia where the movement was based for over a century.
The Chabad Chanukah celebration will be on the second night of the holiday, which lasts eight days and begins Sunday night. (Judaism operates on a lunar calendar.) The holiday commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple and the fact that a small jar of oil, which was to last only one day, burned for eight.
There will be a public lighting of the menorah — a candelabra which holds nine candles — and there will also be music, dancing, a raffle and latkes, or potato pancakes, a traditional holiday food.
Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock is finally getting a chance to hold a Chanukah menorah lighting, at the South Pasadena Farmers’ Market at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, the fifth night of the holiday.
Rabbi Jason Rosner, who lives with his family in South Pasadena, said he had previously been unsuccessful in scheduling something with city officials, but this year, he persevered, and the congregation will use a loaned menorah.
Rosner said that Councilwoman Evelyn Zneimer will do the first blessing over the menorah candles and he will do the second blessing.
The temple, located at 5711 Monte Vista St., Los Angeles, will be holding its own Chanukah celebration, the same evening, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Temple Beth Israel is back to holding in-person services and Rosner said that about 75% of the congregation has returned for those services.
“It feels great to be back in the temple,” Rosner said, adding that it was harder as a Rabbi to serve the congregation without seeing them and being able to gauge body-language.