In 1974 a rabbi and a few yeshiva students lighted the first candle on a small wooden menorah in front of Independence Hall. Since then, erecting oversized outdoor menorahs in public spaces has spread all over the country — and the world.
The 18-foot-tall public menorah at the Barclay Farms Shopping Center in Cherry Hill was lit Sunday to usher in the eight days of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. The event, sponsored by Chabad of Camden and Burlington Counties, was preceded by a parade of car-top menorahs.
Here are some upcoming public menorah lightings in the Philly region during the eight day holiday:
Monday, Dec. 23 • Rittenhouse Square - 5:15-6 p.m. Center City Kehillah hosts a celebration of the second night of Hanukkah with representatives from 30+ Jewish organizations for candle lighting, holiday treats, music, and raffle prizes. Participants are asked to bring gently used winter coats in adult sizes, which will be donated to Broad Street Ministry, organized by Repair the World: Philadelphia.
Monday, Dec. 23 • Langhorne’s Sesame Place - 3:45 p.m. Baby Bear, who celebrates Hanukkah with his family, along with other Sesame Street friends celebrate the holiday. “Hanukkah Storytime with The Count” will take place at Mr. Hooper’s Emporium. (admission required)
Thursday, Dec. 26 • South Street Headhouse Shambles - 5 p.m. Hanukkah service gathering with song and prayer, ending with the lighting of the candelabrum at the Lombard Street Fountain.
Friday, Dec. 27 • Franklin Square - 5:30-7:30 p.m. Games and free crafts for children celebrating the Festival of Lights and Kwanzaa, along with their nightly display with more than 80,000 lights.
Saturday, Dec. 28 • Norristown’s Elmwood Zoo - Noon - 2 p.m. The zoo’s Hanukkah afternoon adventure starts with themed games and crafts at the Trail of the Jaguar exhibit before moving on to the Eagle Deck, where the menorah lighting takes place. (admission required)
Sunday, Dec. 29 • Boathouse Row - 5:30-6:30 p.m. The City of Philadelphia will light up Boathouse Row with blue and white lighting for each night of Hanukkah, resembling a giant menorah on the Schuylkill River. City officials lead guests through prayers and songs before flipping the switch at the fish ladder along MLK Drive.
Participants dance at Chabad Lubavitch of Camden County on Kresson Road before starting the car-top menorah parade.
The car-top menorah parade moved up Marlkress Road, with a police and fire truck escort, toward the Barclay Farms Shopping Center in Cherry Hill.
People watch a fire-juggler, one of the activities before the lighting of the 18-foot-tall outdoor public menorah at sunset.
The 18-foot-tall outdoor public menorah in the Barclay Farms Shopping Center in Cherry Hill is lighted on the first night of Hanukkah.
Toby Berman of Voorhees and Nancy Denenberg (right) of Cherry Hill watch the lighting.
Shulamit Yares, 4, of Cherry Hill enjoys her latkes after the lighting. There was also Chinese finger food, donuts, and chocolate Hanukkah gelt.