Celebrating the Holiday of Light

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Families, friends, and community members brought love and laughter to the pier for the first night of Chanukah

The Malibu Jewish community came together to celebrate the first night of Chanukah with music, food, inspirational speeches, and hope. 

Chabad of Malibu held the event at The Malibu Pier to light the first Chanukah with Rabbi Levi Cunin. Featured speakers included Mayor Steve Uhring, musician Brandon Jenner, and Pizza Girl Inc. founder and CEO Caroline D’Amore. 

The festival of lights included a menorah lighting and special prayers. Cunin welcomed the community with a speech and reminded everyone to continue to share kindness, peace, and hope.

“As we welcome in the holiday of Hanukkah, we are reminded of the message of the menorah and the history of the world and how our world has, again and again, faced a force of darkness and the only way we have been able to overcome it is by igniting the light within ourselves and having it shine brighter, blinding those that have been filled with hate,” Cunin said. “Thank you all for coming, our prayers are with our brothers and sisters in our land of Israel. We’re blessed to be in a community where that light and that love is alive.”

01 Chanukah on the Pier

Cunin welcomed the first guest of the night, Jenner. 

“I’m excited to introduce to you a member of our community, a light in our community, a light of many ways, Brandon Jenner,” Cunin said. 

Mayor Steve Uhring shared a few words about hope, unity, and resilience.

“I would like to thank Rabbi Cunin for this opportunity, I am honored to be able to join you today to celebrate this festival of lights. Like you, I am devastated by the conflicts that are taking place in the Middle East, attending this ceremony provides me with some hope,” Uhring said. “Today more than ever we need another miracle to give us the wisdom we need to learn how to live together, in peace. These candles are light in hope of their flames will symbolize an enduring spirit of hope, unit, and resilience, and may this event usher in a season of joy, miracles, and joy blessings — wishing you all a very Happy Hanukkah.” 

Cunin thanked D’Amore for speaking out and has been sharing and advocating on social media, speaking out on the harassment and bullying the Jewish community has experienced within the last few months. 

“In time of darkness, I have never witnessed a group of people be so light, be so kind, come together and just show so much love,” D’Amore said. “From the moment I spoke out, on behalf of the Jewish community and against anti-semitism, I was inundated by both love and hate, but from the Jewish community, I have to say I have never felt so much love; just emotion and passion and just heart and I just want to tell you all that I feel, I hear you, I love you all, and I’m just so happy and proud to be a part of such a beautiful community.”

Shira Cunin, daughter of Rabbi Cunin, thanked D’Amore for her support in advocating for the youth in the Jewish community. 

“We are so grateful to have you,” Cunin said. “May you continue to shine your light.”

Rabbi Cunin sent a message to the Malibu community prior to the celebration: 

“Whether you are of the Jewish faith or not, the story of Chanukah is one with profound lessons for all humanity, and has more significance today than ever. Here we will explore just one of those lessons.

Chanukah is observed by kindling candles for eight consecutive nights. When we light the candles we are reminded that we are like candles. The force of life within each of us provides us with our inner flame. The choices we make in life guide how much light our candles illuminate into the world. How do we make our candles shine brightly? 

First we must recognize how our own personal candles manifest. For one person, the candle may shine forth as art, or it may be music, for some it is the ability to accumulate wealth, and for others it is pure knowledge. Whatever G-d-given gift we have can be seen as our personal candle and each of us are called upon to shine forth our unique light.

Just as the candle must make herself available to the flame in order to shine forth, similarly when we use our own personal gift to spread light, true peace, love and joy to others, we embark on the journey of the candle. This candle journey reveals to us that just as one single candle is capable of lighting countless others, when we allow our own candle to shine forth we become a beacon of light for others.

The darkness is palpable. The tyranny has reached new lows. Yet, we cannot fight darkness by force, only when we each commit to our role as a shining candle can we illuminate and transform the darkness in our corner of the world. This year is especially, with the darkness and turmoil of the world, we are called upon, to shine our lights, and kindle the lights around us. May this Chanukah bring the ultimate light of peace to this world as we celebrate all together.”

Chabad of Malibu will be hosting public menorah lightings through Chanukah. The menorahs are on displayed around Malibu, including Trancas Country Market, The Park at Cross Creek, Sterling Farm, and the Malibu Pier. Take a photo, and tag @chabadofmalibu and spread the light of Chanukah.

Chabad of Malibu Malibu will hold a Chanukah Party & Lighting at Point Dume Village Shopping Center on Dec. 14 at 3:30 p.m.