WCRJ Synagogue and Community Center celebrates eighth night of Hanukkah

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DENVER -- A celebration of light and religious freedom took place in Denver Sunday evening on the heels of an act of violence in New York.

WCRJ Synagogue and Community Center celebrated the eighth night of Hanukkah at Infinity Park just a day after a man attacked multiple people at a Hanukkah party in New York.

Rabbi Mendy Sirota spoke openly about the attack during the ceremony, saying they will not be intimidated by those who wish to scare the Jewish community.

"Any act of hate, any act of aggression or antisemitism hits home very closely and we feel it very deeply," said Sirota.

A crowd of people huddled together on a cold night to watch as all eight candles on the Menorah were lit. Sirota says the message of Hanukkah is about spreading light and encouraging acts of good.

"To turn hate and tears into action, into action of good," said Sirota.

The attack in New York happened at a rabbi's home when a man forced his way into the party and stabbed five people. It comes just weeks after a separate attack in Jersey City where a kosher deli was targeted.

Sirota says the eighth night of Hanukkah is about celebration. That's why they planned to have a helicopter drop Hanukkah gelt onto the field. Sirota says gelt, a type of chocolate coin, is traditionally given to children during Hanukkah to teach them the value of helping those less fortunate.

Sirota says this is how they choose to fight acts of terror.

"We're going to continue spreading light, we're going to continue shining forward and that will eventually overpower the darkness," said Sirota.

Rachel Skyatta, FOX31

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