The tradition is ages old, but in North Adams a public celebration was begun just last year and will continue this year on Sunday December 22.

At 5 P.M. Sunday, a menorah will be lit to begin Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. Once again this year, Rabbi Rachel Barenblat of Congregation Beth Israel will preside over the event, which begins with lighting the menorah's middle lamp and the first light of the other eight.

As noted on the event's Facebook page, "the lights of the menorah, lit during the eight days of Chanukah, represent the miracle of restoring light to the Temple in Jerusalem as it was rededicated during the second century B.C.E. Today the lights of Chanukah are a reminder of light and hope during dark times."

The brief ceremony will be held in Dr. Arthur Rosenthal Square on West Main Street across from City Hall. Everyone is invited.

At last year's ceremony,local historian Paul W. Marino told the story of the city's Methodist church being lost to fire in 1929, and receiving its first offer of help from the House of Israel, Congregation Beth Israel's predecessor.

Later, I asked Marino about Dr. Rosenthal and why he was so honored with this island in the asphalt of the city's busiest intersection. He told me he was a well known and much-loved physician of the "old-fashioned variety" who made house calls, and between he and Dr. Maurice G. Spitzer "probably delivered most of the adult population of North Adams."

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