The headstones at Holocaust Park glistened like proud beacons of hope as flames in enclosed lanterns bathed them with incandescent light from above.
From his plum seat on a cherry picker, 10-year-old Samuel Levit bobbed excitedly, and smiled and waved at the crowd below on West End Avenue, off Shore Road, before lighting a candle on the giant Hanukkah menorah to celebrate the fifth day of the joyous Jewish holiday, also known as the Festival of Lights.
The Hebrew school student was joined on his memorable ascent by his dad, Dr. Eyal Levit, and Rabbi Avrohom Winner, director of the Neshama-Chabad Lubavitch of Manhattan Beach Chabad, which organized the ceremony, and who continued the festivities back on level ground.
The time-honored rites commemorated not only the Jewish miracle of the oil, which burned for eight days after the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem in 165 B.C., but also the flame in our souls, said the rabbi.
“Our inner menorah should illuminate ourselves, our families and our surroundings, and lead us to perform good deeds,” he explained.
His wife, Shula, helped the spiritual leader distribute donuts and dance with the faithful to live music.
“It’s a big community event,” said Winner, who gave each child a customary crisp dollar to teach them about alms-giving.
“They give a certain percentage to charity and spend the rest themselves,” he added.