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First Night of Hanukkah Celebrated by People of Arkansas

Hanukkah, the festival of Lights, officially began after sunset on Thursday evening. For the Jewish community in Central Arkansas, this holiday comes at a time of reflection and perseverance in the face of rising antisemitism.

Rabbi Barry Block of Temple B’nai Israel expressed pride in celebrating Hanukkah, despite the challenges. He emphasized the importance of acknowledging the joy of the holiday, even in the midst of antisemitism.

As the sun set on the first night of Hanukkah, dozens gathered at Centennial Bank in Little Rock to light the menorah. Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders spoke about the resilience of the Jewish people in the face of adversity.

However, not everyone was there to celebrate. Across the street, demonstrators gathered, calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Despite this, Rabbi Pinchus Ciment of Chabad Lubavitch of Arkansas focused on the positive aspects of the celebration.

Despite the challenges facing the Jewish community, Rabbi Block emphasized the importance of proudly displaying the menorah and standing up against antisemitism. The menorah at 520 S Bowman Road in Little Rock will be lit each night during Hanukkah.

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