Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown joined with Rabbi Moshe Gurary in lighting the Chanukah Menorah at Canalside Thursday evening to celebrate both the Jewish 8-day Festival of Lights and the rebirth of downtown Buffalo.
Rabbi Gurary, executive director of the Chabad House of Buffalo, wished the crowd that came for the lighting about 6:45 p.m. a "Happy Chanukah," and Canalside management for okaying what he anticipates will be an annual Chanukah Menorah Lighting event.
Rabbi Gurary said his organization found it fitting to stage the event to celebrate both the 8-day Chanukah Festival and to acknowledge the rebirth of downtown Buffalo.
Lt. Gov. Hochul said she found the menorah lighting at Canalside appropriate, given the fact that New York State has the largest number of residents of the Jewish faith of any state in the country.
Mayor Brown told the crowd the event was another fine example of Buffalo's "great tradition" of being a diverse city.
The lighting alongside The Ice at Canalside began an hour after a parade of 20 vehicles decorated with menorah symbols and with Buffalo police escort traveled from the Chabad organization's Knesset Center on Starin Avenue to downtown.
After the lighting, dancing was staged near the menorah and gifts were given to children who came for the ceremony.
Rabbi Gurary said the ceremony had been planned for Tuesday but inclement weather delayed it to Thursday, the sixth day of the Hanukah Festival.
Chanukah is the Jewish "Festival of Lights" and the lighting of eight candles each night of the holiday commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in 164 B.C. when the Maccabees defeated the Seleucid Greens. the Maccabees only had enough sacred olive oil to burn one day, only to have the temple Menorah burn eight full days.