Hanukah Celebration Reflects
Spirit Of Bham Jewry
By Richard Friedman,
BJF-LJCC Executive Director
On a chilly and wet winter night Sunday, something inspiring and enduring was blazing in Birmingham, Alabama.
A wide cross-section of Jews from our small 6300-member Jewish community, along with friends of our community and passersby, jammed the Sak’s plaza at the Summit for what has become over the past few years an annual tradition — a Chanukah celebration and Menorah lighting co-sponsored by the Levite Jewish Community Center and Chabad of Alabama.
The warmth and energy that comes from our community being together, and the intensity of the connection we feel with one another, coursed through the plaza.
The crowd of more than 200 was made up of young families with small children, senior citizens and all age groups in between as Jewish community leaders, along with Birmingham’s mayor Randall Woodfin, lit the Hanukah Menorah. Joining the mayor in lighting the candles were Allison Weil, LJCC President; longtime Jewish community philanthropist Hal Abroms, and Chabad Rabbis Yossi Posner and Levi Weinbaum.
The energizing event was a powerful reflection of four things:
– The pride our Jewish community has in being Jewish, particularly when we come together to express it collectively in a public setting.
– The capability of diverse Jewish community entities, with different missions, such as Chabad and our LJCC, to work together for the greater good.
– Our Jewish community’s wonderful relationships with influential leaders in the broader community, such as Mayor Woodfin, which have served us well and created opportunities for us to benefit Birmingham in a multitude of ways.
– And, as reflected in the large number of young families there with small children, our determination to sustain the continuity and vibrancy of our Jewish community from generation to generation.
The festivities and Menorah lighting were fun up-close. When viewed from a few steps back, they were a powerful statement of who we are and who we can be going forward as a Jewish community.
Two important institutions, our LJCC and Chabad, came together Sunday night to give our Jewish community and city a Hanukah gift: Unity for our Jewish community, heightened awareness for our broader community — a celebration for all wrapped in blue and white.