Sunday, December 2, 2018

Olympia Menorah Lit for Chanukah

Above: Rabbi Yosef Schtroks of The Chabad Jewish Center of Olympia lit a giant Menorah at Sylvester Park in downtown Olympia Sunday night. It will be displayed at the park the entire week of Chanukah, December 2 through December 10.

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

“The message of Chanukah is the message of light. The nature of light is that it is always victorious over darkness. A small amount of light dispels a lot of darkness. Another act of goodness and kindness, another act of light, can make all the difference,” said Rabbi Yosef Schtroks of The Chabad Jewish Center of Olympia.

Remembering the loss of 11 people killed at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue in late October, a giant Menorah was lit for Chanukah at Sylvester Park in downtown Olympia Sunday night.

Rabbi Schtroks said that the gathering “showed that spirits would not be dampened by those who wish to bring more darkness to the world.”  

“Upon reflection of these current events and the holiday of Chanukah, I was reminded of the message taught by the Lubavitcher Rebbe of saintly memory.

“The Hebrew word Chanukah has multiple meanings. One of the definitions shows how Chanukah comes from the Hebrew root word Chinuch, which translates as “education.”

“The Chanukah story is very much about education….Jewish children were risking their lives to study Torah using the Dreidel to fool the guards who sought to enforce the ban on Torah study….In the wonderful free country that we live in, let us not forget the critical nature of education. More than information, education should also remind us of a higher purpose in life, in fact, a divine purpose in life.

“In this regard, each and every one of us can touch our sphere of influence. We can discuss this - parents with our children, and the rest of us with our colleagues, friends, and family. What does it mean to be a human being? What does it mean to be a refined human being? What does it mean to be a divine human being?

“The wisdom of the Torah and the guidelines in the seven universal laws given to Noah remind us to look out for others, to value human life and to use every opportunity to bring more peace into the world, whether in the spiritual sense or in the plain and simple.

“Let’s resolve to make our inner Menorah shine so bright this year that it illuminates our actions and every aspect of our lives with the notion of a higher purpose,” said Rabbi Schtroks.

The local Chabad group is a branch of the global Chabad-Lubavitch movement which has about 1,800 Jewish centers across North America, including the Pittsburgh Tree of Life, and over 20 in Washington State.

The Chabad Jewish Center of Olympia, a non-membership based group of approximately 1,500 individuals, has been a Jewish resource and Synagogue in Olympia since 2007. 

The group has displayed the giant Menorah at Sylvester Park since 2008.

Above: A first-ever gelt drop of chocolates by the Olympia Fire Department added to the evening’s festivities.

Upcoming Events

First Annual Yelm Chanukah Celebration and Menorah Lighting, Yelm City Park, December 3 at 5:30 p.m.

Menorah Lighting and Chanukah Celebration, Red Square, The Evergreen State College, December 5 at 1:15p.m.

For more information, contact Rabbi Yosef Schtroks, Chabad Jewish Center of Olympia, 1770 Barnes Blvd. SW Tumwater, WA 98512,, and at The Evergreen State College, go to