Pasadena Celebrates Hanukkah

MusiciansChildren painting red, white, and blue menorah in honor of Pasadena Police DeptChildren painting red, white, and blue menorah in honor of Pasadena Police DeptChildren making menorahsMenochem Farhosh (the Rabbi\'s Shliach) and Israel dancingRabbi Chaim Hanoka and Commander Jason Clawson from Pasadena Police DeptRabbi Chaim Hanoka, Pasadena Police Officers, and Pasadena Mayor Terry TornekPasadena Mayor Terry Tornek with wife Maria TornekPasadena Mayor Terry Tornek with wife Maria TornekPasadena Mayor Terry Tornek, Maria Tornek, and a group of the rabbi\'s schliachPasadena Mayor Terry Tornek dancing with a group of the rabbi\'s schliachPasadena Mayor Terry Tornek dancing with a group of the rabbi\'s schliachRabbi Chaim Hanoka and Pasadena Mayor Terry TornekChildren eating latkes (potato pancakes)Jelly-filled donutsMan coiling stringChildren painting red, white, and blue menorah in honor of Pasadena Police DeptChildren making craftsGirl coloring picture of dreidelHandmade painted menorahRabbi Chaim Hanoka lighting painting red, white, and blue menorah in honor of Pasadena Police DeptRabbi Chaim Hanoka and children volunteering to light the menorahPasadena Police Dept, Commander Jason Clawson, and Rabbi Chaim HanokaMenorah with candlesPasadena Police Dept Commander Jason Clawson lighting menorah with Rabbi Chaim Hanoka and Pasadena Mayor Terry TornekMenorah lightingWomen and girl with candles Menorah lightingRabbi Chaim Hanoka and Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek singing a traditional Jewish songWoman and man with candlesGirl with candleGirl with candleMan singing with child Group of the rabbi\'s schliach and man singing with child

STAFF REPORT | Photography by SHIRLEY HUANG

5:31 am | December 24, 2019


“It’s a universal holiday in the sense that it celebrates freedom and the ability to practice religion without being oppressed,” said Mayor Terry Tornek Monday about Sunday’s 14th annual Menorah lighting and Hanukkah celebration at Pasadena City Hall.

“And so, both as, as mayor and as somebody who celebrated Hanukkah since he was a little kid, it was a wonderful event for me,” he said.

Tornek joked that he’d heard on the radio that Beverly Hills was lighting its first official Menorah this year, and he thought, “ Big deal, you know? Where’ve they been?”

Sunday’s event also honored Pasadena’s Police Department since the first night of Hanukkah fell on Police Appreciation Day.

While the Pasadena Hanukkah event is now into its second decade, Tornek noted that the City Hall has long been a landmark site for celebrations and memorials of all kinds.

Said Tornek, “I really view it as the people’s house. I mean, it’s a place for people to gather to celebrate happy events and, and sad events and political events and cultural events.”

The mayor continued, “It’s not just religious observances. I mean, obviously when, when students want to protest or when other organizations want to get attention, it’s appropriate that they gather in front of City Hall because that’s, that’s the focal point of the city’s civic existence. And so I’m always happy to participate in and get to as many of those events as I can.”

Hanukkah — which means “dedication” in Hebrew — is Judaism’s commemoration of the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem that followed the Maccabees’ victory over a larger Syrian army in 165 B.C.

Around the world Jews light candles in a special menorah called a Hanukkiah each day at sundown for eight days, with an additional candle added each day.

“The Menorah light acts as a source of hope and inspiration,” said Rabbi Chaim Hanoka of the Chabad of Pasadena. “Even though they’re small candles, they can eliminate a tremendous amount of darkness bringing peace and blessings.”

“We’re doing a Menorah Lighting and celebrating Police Appreciation Day to show thanks because the Pasadena Police go the extra mile,” Hanoka also said.

“The event has grown exponentially and attracts a wide array of people from across the board beyond our congregation. People want to enjoy Hanukkah have a great time, and enjoy jelly donuts and latkes,” Honoka added.

Rabbi Zushi Rivkin also noted the support that the Jewish community receives in Pasadena.

“It’s because America opens its doors to everyone,” Rabbi Rivkin said. “You can be who you want to be. America is a country of kindness.”