First published in the Dec. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.
There is a Hanukkah song that goes, “Oh Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, come light the menorah…”
Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock participated in the South Pasadena’s traditional holiday festivities at the farmers market last Thursday, Dec. 2, lighting several menorahs to mark the fifth night of the Festival of Lights.
The menorah lighting was done in conjunction with the city’s holiday celebration, according to the temple’s senior rabbi, Jason Rosner, a South Pasadena resident.
Menorahs are used to hold the candles, which commemorate the miracle of a single day’s worth of candle oil lasting eight days when the Jews rededicated their temple in Jerusalem.
Rosner and Councilwoman Evelyn Zneimer, who is Jewish, said the two blessings as the candles were lit. People were then invited to light candles on the several menorahs set up for the event. There was also a large menorah with five electric “candles” illuminating the night.
“It warmed my heart to see families of all backgrounds — young and old, girls and boys, single-faith and multi-faith families — all taking part in lighting our menorahs,” Rosner said. “As the rabbi of the oldest and largest synagogue in our area, we were honored to represent the Jewish community here and partner with Mayor Diana Mahmud, Councilwoman Zneimer and South Pasadena leadership for this beautiful collaboration.
“As a resident with a deep personal investment in South Pasadena,” he continued, “it made me happy to collaborate on this holiday event with people I know through the council, Community Garden, WISSPA, city staff, the Arts Council, the Chamber of Commerce, local businesses, schools, my synagogue members and fellow clergy.”
The city, at the same event, lit a Christmas tree, as is traditionally done every year at the South Pasadena Farmer’s Market, which is held most Thursdays around the intersection of Meridian Avenue and El Centro Street. Mahmud lit the official tree, decorated with laser effects. A large contingent of city officials attended the event, which was well-attended by residents.
Temple Beth Israel was incorporated in 1923 and moved to its current location at 5711 Monte Vista St. in Los Angeles in 1929. It claims to be one of the longest continuously operating synagogues in Los Angeles. Many South Pasadena residents call Temple Beth Israel their spiritual home.