Premier John Horgan joked Tuesday night on the legislature steps about being able to stand on top of the ladder instead of holding it, for the ceremonial lighting of the menorah signalling the start of Hanukkah.
Horgan joined members of the local Jewish community for the celebration at his workplace, and spoke to its importance and meaning.
“It’s a time of reflecting and embracing the diversity of Canada and the ability of people from multiple faiths to celebrate at this time of the year,” he said. “And in the case of Hanukkah it’s the story of celebration, of the triumph of light over darkness, of love over hate, these are values we all share.”
Rabbi Meir Kaplan, the director of Chabad Vancouver Island, encouraged those gathered to look inside themselves as a way of making a positive difference in their communities.
“Hanukkah teaches us not only that we have collectively a responsibility to bring light to the world, but that each one of us must bring their own light to this world,” he said.
Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days. As well as lighting one light on the menorah each day, participants eat sufganiyot (Israeli jelly donuts), play with dreidels (a four-sided spinning top), hand out chocolate gelt (coins) and sing traditional Jewish songs.
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps is scheduled to light a menorah at City Hall on Thursday (Dec. 14) at 8:30 a.m.
Hanukkah runs from Dec. 12 to 20 this year.