This outdoor Chanukah Fire ‘n Ice event allowed attendees to safely celebrate the beginning of Chanukah during the pandemic; Chabad’s 9-foot steel menorah will be on display in the Dillard’s Court at The Shops at Willow Bend for the entire Chanukah
Chabad of Plano/Collin County lit a 5-foot ice menorah to mark the first night of Chanukah at the annual Plano community menorah lighting on December 10, outdoors at The District at The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano. Attendees watched Chef Pete (http://www.chefpete.com/ICE.html) sculpt the ice menorah on site while enjoying Chanukah music. This Chanukah Fire ‘n Ice event is part of the worldwide Chanukah campaign to highlight and encourage the central theme of the holiday, publicizing the story of the Chanukah miracle and the victory of light over darkness – a message of hope greatly needed today amidst the darkness of the pandemic. This year’s global campaign will see Chabad reach 8 million Jews in more than 100 countries. With safety measures limiting many in-person gatherings, Chabad will erect some 15,000 large public menorahs, which will be seen by millions on streets and public squares around the world, including in front of landmarks such as the White House, the Eiffel Tower, and the Kremlin.
Rabbi Menachem Block kicked off the program by recognizing Rabbi Yehuda Horowitz, also of Chabad of Plano/Collin County, for his work in putting the evening’s program together. He also welcomed Plano dignitaries and special guests Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, Plano City Manager Mark Israelson, and Plano Chief of Police Ed Drain.
Howie Pock, specialty leasing manager, The Shops at Willow Bend, provided greetings and shared that Chabad of Plano/Collin County has been lighting the menorah at The Shops at Willow Bend for 20 years and announced that the shopping center had some exciting things planned in the coming months.
City Manager Mark Israelson welcomed Chief of Police Ed Drain to the stage. Chief Drain shared that while it has been a tough year, there is no better place to be than Plano, where there are wonderful people and resources. Drain added that he was honored to participate in the event, sharing that his son-in-law is Jewish and that lighting the menorah was an important tradition in his family. He stressed the importance of carrying on with our traditions wherever they can be done safely.
Rabbi Block then called Mayor LaRosiliere to the stage to make a special presentation to him on behalf of Chabad of Plano/Collin County, thanking him for his past eight years of leadership. “Mayor LaRosiliere is a dear friend whose leadership has been characterized by wisdom, caring, and integrity,” said Rabbi Block.
Mayor LaRosiliere shared that he and Rabbi Block have been longtime friends, first meeting when he was running for city council. “I have my own Rabbi!” said the Mayor. “He has been a friend to me and the City of Plano, and I call him my teacher. We make a point to meet regularly, and he always has a message for me, helping me with whatever I may be struggling with at the time.”
Following the lighting of the ice menorah, attendees enjoyed a lively fire show. Chabad presented a Chanukah gift bag with a Chanukah story book, chocolate gelt and a dreidel to each attending family. Chabad of Plano/Collin County has been lighting the menorah in the Plano community for the past 27 years.
“The flames of the menorah shine out into the night, reminding us that even when confronted with much darkness, a tiny light can dispel it all. Another act of goodness and kindness, another act of light can make all the difference,” added Rabbi Block, Chabad of Plano/Collin County.
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About Chabad of Plano/Collin County
Chabad of Plano/Collin County is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational and social programs for families and children across Collin County. For more information about Chanukah and a local schedule of events visit ChabadPlano.org/Chanukah.
PHOTOS ARE BY VLADIMIR MEYMAN.