The Detroit Menorah will be lit Sunday at the 8th annual Menorah in the D ceremony, marking the first night of Hanukkah.
The event, held at Campus Martius Park, begins at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 2 with entertainment and refreshments. The main event, the menorah lighting, commences at 5:00 p.m. It is presented by the Shul Chabad Lubavitch of West Bloomfield in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and the Chabad of Greater Downtown Detroit.
Admission to the event is free and open to the public.
The pre-ceremony entertainment is sure to be fun for kids and adults alike. With dancing dreidels, face painting, crafts, a marshmallow roasting pit, strolling street performers and more, families will want to make sure they give themselves plenty of time to enjoy all the activities offered before the lighting begins. Attendees will also be able to snag a limited edition Menorah in the D sweatshirt.
Refreshments include a variety of free snacks, hot cider and soup, as well as food available to purchase from a kosher food truck. (Tip: The food truck is cash only, so be sure to hit up the ATM before heading over.)
Then, at 5:00 p.m., the ceremony begins. This will include the lighting of the 26-foot-tall steel and glass menorah, greetings from community leaders and dignitaries, and live music.
In addition to the usual proceedings, this year’s ceremony will pay tribute to the 11 victims of last month’s shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
According to a press release, the event “will help spread light, unity, positivity and love” in the wake of the shooting.
“We take strength from the menorah, always increasing in light, as the best possible way to combat the darkness that swirls around us,” Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov, spiritual director and founder of the Shul Chabad Lubavitch, said in the press release. “On each of the eight nights of Chanukah, we add another candle – generating more and more light. Like a flaming candle, all you need to do is touch another person with an act of kindness and sincerity and their flame will be ignited as well. One candle at a time, one soul at a time, the world becomes a brighter, warmer place.”
The event will also feature eight community members onstage during the ceremony as part of an “8 in their 8s” nomination. These special participants all have two things in common: they’ve made an impact in their communities and their age ends with an eight, in reference to the eight years the event has been held.
These community members range in age from 8 to 98. The youngest of the group, 8-year-old Ariella Bednarsh, was nominated for her efforts to educate her classmates about being Jewish, as she and her sister are the only Jewish students in their school. Every year, according to the press release, she invites her friends over for Hanukkah so they can experience the holiday.
Parking is available for $5 per car at the One Campus Martius Garage, located at 1140 Farmer St. (between Gratiot and Monroe). Make sure to get your parking ticket validated at the event’s designated location to get the discounted parking rate.