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Roving Rabbis light up towns across the mountain west

 Reuven Tanny lights the menorah in Mountain Village
Julia Caulfield
Reuven Tanny lights the menorah in Mountain Village

Across the globe, Jews are lighting menorahs and celebrating with their families.

But in Mountain Village, Colorado, a group of “Roving Rabbis” are doing things a little differently.

The sun is setting on the shortest day of the year, and blasting over loudspeakers is a pop dance beat, but it’s not a song you’re likely to hear on a Top 40 countdown.

It’s the 4th night of Hanukkah and a group of rabbinical students from New York City, the Roving Rabbis, are in town for a menorah lighting.

Over 100 members of the community and visitors brave the cold temperatures to celebrate and partake in the lighting.

Rabbi Mendy Hirsch speaks to the gathered crowd.

“Tonight we join millions of Jews around the world who are making the fourth night of the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah,” said Rabbi Hirsch.

“Families all across the globe are gathering together to kindle these incredible flames.”

The rabbis are on a whistle-stop tour of Utah, Colorado, and Texas lighting menorahs and celebrating Hanukkah.

“Each one of us has the spark of God within us. We all have our menorah, we all have our light, and the goal that we came here tonight for, is to ignite that light, to make sure that light is revealed, to make sure we have that light, and that light stays with us,” said Hirsch.

“We know that when we have a candle in a dark room, if you light even one candle, the entire room gets lit up. The same is with our soul, with our Godliness. When we add in light, and we awaken our neshama, our inner soul, the light of God inside of us, that lights up our surrounding, that helps us through our challenges. That is how we celebrate Hanukkah.”

After a few words from Mountain Village Mayor, local resident Reuven Tanny gets up to light the first four candles of the menorah, as Rabbi Shmuly Wudowsky leads the blessings.

The lighting complete, dance music returns, the rabbis serve latkes and donuts.

Someone is dressed up as a dreidel and is dancing.

For Tanny, the lighting is a beautiful expression of community and the joy of the season.

“It makes me love Telluride even more, to just see the holiday spirit. I know a lot of people don’t really know much about Hanukkah, and it’s great for everybody to get together and celebrate,” said Tanny.

The celebration continues as the sky lights up in a brilliant sunset, but soon, the Roving Rabbis will leave Mountain Village, heading to Crested Butte, then Texas, spreading the light and love of Hanukkah with more small communities across the west.

This story from KOTOwas shared with KSJD via Rocky Mountain Community Radio, a network of public media stations in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico including Aspen Public Radio.
Copyright 2022 Aspen Public Radio . To see more, visit Aspen Public Radio.