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Joyce Endee

The start of Hanukkah celebrated in Bethlehem

December 28, 2011
BETHLEHEM The local Jewish community celebrated the beginning of Hanukkah with a public lighting of a menorah in front of the Bethlehem town hall on late Tuesday afternoon. This was the first time such an event to occurred in town, organizers said. About 20-25 people gathered to enjoy readings, festive songs and traditional food.

The idea came from a non-Jewish member of the community who suggested to Howard Friedman that some kind of a public event ought to take place to celebrate Hanukkah. Days before several Christmas events were happened at the town hall and the grounds around it. Friedman and David Goldstone quickly put together an event. It was a chance, Goldstone said, "to recognize there is another holiday." He continued, "There are lots of connections between Christianity and Judaism."

The message of Hanukkah, Goldstone said, revolves around religious freedom. He also noted that the Jewish community in Bethlehem is embedded in the town's history. Selectwoman Sandy Laleme and Selectmen Jerry Blanchard attended the ceremony and praised the town's acceptance of diversity.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Varney Smith
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