Rabbi Yosef Lerman lights the fourth candle on the menorah during a celebration Wednesday of the final night of Hanukkah at Thrasher Park in Norcross. (Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)
NORCROSS — Eight candles were lit Wednesday night on what Rabbi Yosef Lerman called the largest menorah in Gwinnett County marking the final night of Hanukkah.
“Today what it represents is the entire full Hanukkah celebration,” said Lerman, with the organization Chabad, which put together the evening’s event. “Hanukkah celebrates the Jewish freedom in their land of Israel when we were under the Greek oppression. The Greeks forbade the Jewish practice, the Jewish life, so it’s actually a celebration of peronal freedom and freedom for all religions to practice what they feel and how they want to worship.”
The event drew residents from Gwinnett and surrounding areas to Thrasher Park in Norcross, where the 10-foot menorah was set up on a stage for the third annual event.
“We are here in the city of Norcross and the city of Norcross has opened their doors for us,” Lerman said. “Our menorah is full, our mouth is full with blessings and hopefully our mouth is full of a lot of latkes (or potato pancakes).”
Before the lighting of the menorah, children were invited up on stage to decorate the candelabra with colorful balloons and glow sticks. Those in attendance were also treated to the hip-hop musical style of Reuben Formey.
After the lighting, attendees enjoyed potato latkes, doughnuts and hot chocolate.
“It’s a tribute to our country that you look around you can see all types of people, Jews, non-Jews, the type of person you can imagine is here to celebrate freedom and to celebrate what we have here in America,” said Yaakov Citrim of Sandy Springs. “I think it’s beautiful.”