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Menorah lit at Ventura Harbor

Menorah lit at Ventura Harbor

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venturacountystar.com


Menorah lit at Ventura Harbor for Hanukkah

Rabbi Dov Muchnik presents a 6-foot ice sculpture menorah at Ventura Harbor on Sunday in Ventura.

Photo by Karen Quincy Loberg

Rabbi Dov Muchnik presents a 6-foot ice sculpture menorah at Ventura Harbor on Sunday in Ventura.

 
Westlake Village resident Tom Nial holds up his daughter Brittney Nial at the Hanukkah festival.

Photo by Karen Quincy Loberg

Westlake Village resident Tom Nial holds up his daughter Brittney Nial at the Hanukkah festival.

 

Although temperatures were in the 50s, Ventura Harbor was transformed into a wintry play land Sunday, with a chill in the air from a stiff ocean breeze, a hill made from imported snow and a man carving a menorah from an ice block.

Chabad Jewish centers of Oxnard, CSU Channel Islands and Ventura joined forces to bring the ice menorah-lighting ceremony to the harbor for the fifth straight year.

The first year we had it at Channel Islands, so its correct to say its the sixth year, Rabbi Dov Muchnik of Chabad of Oxnard said.

Every year, thank God it grows. With everything thats going on in the world, we need to celebrate the religious tolerance we have in the country. We want to reach out to our fellow Jews to have pride in our traditions.

Muchnik said the ice menorah is used as a metaphor. The symbolism of the ice menorah is to take something dark and cold and make it into something of light and warmth, he said.

The menorah was carved by Rex Covington of L.A. Ice. Families frolicked in the snow pile and snowballs flew, while children jumped in an inflatable play structure. Artist Fayga, who goes by only one name, sold some of her postcards depicting her work alongside other Jewish merchandise.

These are things for the home. Weve done twice as well as we did last year, Fayga said.

When it came time to light the giant ice sculpture, which was topped with converted tiki torches that had been fashioned into gold-colored candlelike lamps, Rabbi Yakov Latowicz of Chabad of Ventura dedicated the lighting to Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg who was killed in the Mumbai, India, attacks along with his wife, Rivkah.

These lights cannot be extinguished. The Jewish souls cannot be extinguished, Latowicz said. He explained that the two tiki torches that were taken through the crowd had to be touched by everyone there. They are unity torches to remind us all that we stand as one, he said.

More than 300 potato latkes that had been warmed in chafing dishes were distributed, first to the children and then to the adults, and the air was soon redolent with the savory onion/potato pancakes.

Rabbi Ariel Rav-Noy of CSU Channel Islands Chabad sang the blessing as the lamps were lit.

Because it was the last evening of Hanukkah, which started at sundown Dec. 21, all eight candles were lit to commemorate the victory of the Maccabees over the Greco-Syrians and the miracle of the one-days worth of oil that lasted eight nights.

As the rabbi sang the blessing, Jack Daniel of Ventura sang along, while he held his daughter Talia.

With his wife, Judy, and infant son Joseph by his side, Daniel said he came to the celebration for the kids to play around. While he isnt a regular at temple, Daniel said he felt it was important to demonstrate pride in his religion to his children.

Muchnik said the current Israeli incursion into Gaza was on his mind as he celebrated. No question. To get rid of darkness with light and kindness, we are spreading the morality of love and peace, he said.

The message is for all people for liberty, freedom and justice for all. There are parallels between (this ceremony) and American ideals for the country.

 
 
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