Early on Thursday morning, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps’ office at City Hall was decorated with a silver menorah, some jelly donuts, and a dozen colourful dreidels.
For the fifth consecutive year, Rabbi Meir Kaplan of Chabad Vancouver Island lit the menorah in a symbolic gesture for the City to celebrate Hannukah.
Usually the menorah is lit after sunset, which Rabbi Kaplan said carries importance.
“The message of Hanukkah is to bring light to dark places, therefore when the sun sets we light the menorah,” he said. “I was thinking it’s very appropriate for people of service, like the mayor and council, that it’s important to remember the responsibility of any people of service is to bring light to dark place; to find those places where people don’t have light and provide them with means so they can shine themselves.”
Rabbi Kaplan lit the central Shamash candle, and then four others while singing a blessing.
“I think being here in the city where there’s eight council members and the mayor, it’s like the menorah, ” Rabbi Kaplan said. “This is definitely an appropriate message that we all have to be candles and make the city brighter.”
Mayor and council then participated in a friendly round of dreidel, competing for chocolate coins, before feasting on Sufganiyot, or jelly donuts.
“More than ever there’s an importance for light,” said Helps. “It’s a real honour to be a small part of the celebration of Hanukkah.”