Lexington Rabbi hopes to kick off Hanukkah celebrations stronger than ever

Published: Nov. 28, 2021 at 1:26 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Sunday marks the first night of Hanukkah, a Jewish celebration that lasts for eight days.

Last year the festivities were interrupted by hate in Lexington. This year, the community hopes to kick off the holiday stronger than ever.

“It celebrates the miracle of the oil that after the Maccabees reconquered the holy temple and rededicated it. There was only enough oil for one day, and miraculously it lasted for eight until new oil could be found,” said Rabbi Shlomo Litvin with Chabad of the Bluegrass.

The traditional Hanukkah celebration involves a retelling of the story itself. The festival is then observed by spending time with family, playing dreidel, and eating fried foods.

“So all of our traditional foods are deep-fried, which is wonderful. We have deep-fried potato pancakes, which are called amazing latkes, and also sufganiyot, which are deep-fried jelly doughnuts with a sugar topping,” said Rabbi Litvin.

After an anti-Semitic last year, the community is looking to move forward and bring light to the occasion.

“Because hate can’t defeat us, what darkness is, is an absence of light. The second you light a light, it doesn’t fight the darkness. The darkness is anguished. We will be here to light the menorah, and we will create light not only here but spread the initiative to spread light across the entire commonwealth,” said Rabbi Litvin.

Rabbi Litvin is holding menorah lightings each day this week, including special guests to help out. Governor Beshear, Mayor Linda Gorton, WKYT’s recently-retired Sam Dick, and the survivor from last year’s attack will be in attendance on different days at different locations.

“I’ll be lighting in Covington, in Somerset, in Versailles, in Georgetown, in Ashland, and all over the state visiting communities, lighting menorahs there,” said Rabbi Litvin.

All are welcome to attend the festivities this week, and people can find a complete list of Hanukkah activities in Lexington at

Also, here at WKYT, we want to wish a Chag Sameach to all who celebrate!

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