SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Before the first of the eight-night festival of lights arrived, the Jewish Community Center in Scranton hosted its annual Hanukkah street festival early Sunday.
Festive dances, classic cuisine, and holiday traditions were all part of the Hanukkah street festival at the Scranton JCC.
“It just gets everyone excited about Hanukkah, puts Hanukkah on everyone’s mind and is something that’s really nice that a place like the JCC is able to do,” said Rabbi Alex Hecht of the Beth Shalom Congregation.
The second annual event persevered despite the cold.
Even though the street fair was moved inside, the celebration was still packed with traditions and holiday fun to get the Scranton Jewish community excited for the first night of Hanukkah.
The free festival was loaded with learning opportunities.
“Our Hanukkah festival is really a wonderful opportunity for not just our Jewish community to come together, but the greater community to come together and celebrate Hanukkah. To learn about Hanukkah, our holiday, traditions, our culture,” said Dan Cardonick, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center of Scranton.
The children of Beth Shalom Academy taught the community through song and dance and were pleased to be part of the fun.
“It got them so much more excited because it was so meaningful to them and they knew it was going to be so meaningful to everybody. So the excitement was all the way up,” Schwartz.
Another showcased Hanukkah tradition? Oil.
“The miracle that happened that a little bit of oil, the amount that was only burnt for one day would last for eight days,” said Rabbi Hecht.
The miraculous oil that inspired the holiday of lights also inspired the classic Hanukkah fried food menu of latkes and donuts, all cooked in olive oil.
Members of the Jewish community say they are grateful for this festival that gives others a better look at their holiday culture.
“I’m very appreciative. As a member of the Scranton Jewish community my whole life, this is to me a great asset to the community. Great feeling of community,” said Natan Fink of Scranton.
The JCC of Scranton invites everyone to come to experience their annual Chanukah Festival free of charge and hopes to see new faces there next holiday season.