Many faiths share in Hanukkah lighting | December 26, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - December 26, 2008

Many faiths share in Hanukkah lighting

Hundreds enjoy latkes, wine tasting, dancing and games

by Geoff Gillette

The members of the Beth Chaim congregation gathered Sunday to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah, but they didn't come alone. Celebrating their second year in their new home just off Camino Tassajara, the synagogue played host to six other faiths.

Rabbi Dan Goldblat addressed the crowd of 250 people who braved the rainy weather to take part in the lighting of the first candle of the Menorah, symbolizing the first of the eight nights of Hanukkah. Goldblat referred to the spirit of Hanukkah as the longest running fight for religious freedom.

Goldblat and Rabbi Chaya Gusfield welcomed those of the congregation as well as those of other faiths who chose to attend.

"We have invited many of other faiths to attend," Goldblat explained, "and each faith community will have its own menorah."

Six other faith communities attended the celebration including: the Baha'i' Faith, Peace Lutheran Church, Danville Congregational Church, the Islamic Center, the MA Center of San Ramon and the Christian Science Church. Representatives from each gave a brief blessing to the packed room before using the center, or Shamash, candle to light the first of the eight Hanukkah candles.

After the lighting, those in attendance ate latkes, tasted wine or danced to traditional music. Some of the younger congregants gathered on the floor to spin the dreidel, playing the centuries old game and wagering for chocolate coins.