Your Time: Hanukkah celebration, Congregation B’nai Israel, Northampton

  • Johnny Joelson of Northampton, left, and Emily Hodos of Hadley chat during a Jewish community Hanukkah event Dec. 24, 2016 at Congregation B'nai Israel in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Jesse Reiter and daughter Isabella Reiter, 6, both of New York City, N.Y., light a candle to place in the menorah Dec. 24, 2016 during a Jewish community Hanukkah event at Congregation B'nai Israel in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Jay Wolkoff of New Haven, Conn., left, and Dan Mason of Northampton share conversation and a meal during a Jewish community Hanukkah event Dec. 24, 2016 at Congregation B'nai Israel in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Jonah Willers, 13, of Florence, left, and parents Michael and Jordana Willers share conversation and a meal during a Jewish community Hanukkah event Dec. 24, 2016 at Congregation B'nai Israel in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • 1. Isaac Roth 2. From left, Jay Wolkoff, Dan Mason 3. Helen Murphy 4. Johnny Joelson, Emily Hodos 5. Jonah Willers, Michael Willers, Jordana Willers 6. Luana Greenwald, Haliyah Freidman-Kassis 7. Gary Kamen, Bobbie Kamen 8. Rabbi Riqi Kosovske, Rabbi Jacob Fine, Rabbi Justin David Cover: Jesse Reiter, Isabella Reiter 1. Isaac Roth 2. From left, Jay Wolkoff, Dan Mason 3. Helen Murphy 4. Johnny Joelson, Emily Hodos 5. Jonah Willers, Michael Willers, Jordana Willers 6. Luana Greenwald, Haliyah Freidman-Kassis 7. Gary Kamen, Bobbie Kamen 8. Rabbi Riqi Kosovske, Rabbi Jacob Fine, Rabbi Justin David Cover: Jesse Reiter, Isabella Reiter

  • Rabbi Riqi Kosovske, left, Rabbi Jacob Fine and Rabbi Justin David prepare to put out a braided candle, signifying the end of Shabbat, during a Jewish community Hanukkah event Dec. 24, 2016 at Congregation B'nai Israel in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Helen Murphy of Amherst prepares Chinese food for a Jewish community Hanukkah event Dec. 24, 2016 at Congregation B'nai Israel in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Luana Greenwald, 8, of Northampton, left, looks on as Haliyah Freidman-Kassis, 9, of Northampton spins a dreidel during a Jewish community Hanukkah event Dec. 24, 2016 at Congregation B'nai Israel in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Gary and Bobbie Kamen of Hadley sing while lighting a candle to place in the menorah during a Jewish community Hanukkah event Dec. 24, 2016 at Congregation B'nai Israel in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • A menorah holds two lit candles Dec. 24, 2016 during a Jewish community Hanukkah event at Congregation B'nai Israel in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

Published: 12/29/2016 12:25:40 PM

On Dec. 24 — the first night of Hanukkah — a warm glow escaped the doors and windows of Congregation B'nai Israel in Northampton. Joyous expressions stretched from one rosy cheek to another inside, as Jews gathered around the Hanukkah menorah and celebrated the holiday with singing, eating and dancing late into the evening.

Johnny Joelson of Northampton described the night as “a lot of light and a lot of heat.”

At the deepest level, Fine said, Hanukkah is about being able to perceive light in the darkness.

That symbolism is particularly strong for Emily Hodos of Hadley, who referred to the divisiveness of this year’s presidential election.

“Here is about light, brightness, community,” said Dan Mason of Northampton. “And, hope.”




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