South Orange-Maplewood Leaders Stand Against Antisemitism at Menorah Lighting

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On December 18, the South Orange-Maplewood community celebrated the first night of Hanukkah with a menorah lighting in Spiotta Park in South Orange Downtown. The event was attended by members of the Jewish faith as well as “our friends, neighbors, and elected leaders of South Orange and Maplewood,” Rabbi Jesse Olitzy of Congregation Beth El reported. “We honored the members of the SOMA Refugee Resettlement Committee as we lit the menorah for they inspire us all to spread light unto this world.”

Menorah lighting at Spiotta Park, December 18, 2022. Photo courtesy of Rabbi Jesse Olitzky via

“South Orange Village President Sheena Collum spoke about the Shamash and asked our neighbors to be allies in taking a stand against rising antisemitism,” added Olitzky. “Maplewood Mayor Dean Dafis spoke about the light of unity and how the branches of the menorah represent that light, and so too our SOMA community must remain unity in standing up to all bigotry.”

Dafis followed his in-person remarks, with a post on Facebook: “Powerful and meaningful menorah lighting tonight. Our community unity is the light. Our solidarity will stifle hate. Together we stand for love and peace, and against antisemitism or antiZionism.”

Several more community menorah lightings will take place in South Orange and Maplewood, including a Springfield Avenue menorah lighting on December 20 and a lighting at Oheb Shalom in South Orange, also on December 20.  Find details here.

Menorah lighting in Spiotta Park, December 18, 2022. Photo courtesy of Maplewood Mayor Dean Dafis.

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