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Town Common Menorah Lighting Draws Crowd Despite Weather

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In what’s become a Westford holiday tradition, area residents came to the town common on Sunday to celebrate Hanukkah with a menorah lighting ceremony.

The event was hosted by Rabbi Zalman Gurkow of the Chabad of the Nashoba Valley, an Orthodox synagogue located on Tadmuck Road.

Rabbi Zalman Gurkow on Sunday
Rabbi Zalman Gurkow on Sunday

While State Representative Jim Arciero has made a presence at the event in previous years to offer a few words alongside Gurkow, he was unable to attend this year due to family commitments, with Lt. Colonel Sam Poulton providing a citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives in his stead.

Despite the some snow and the event coinciding with the end of the Patriots’ game (Poulton graciously provided an update), Gurkow was pleased with the size of the crowd, which he estimated around 30 to 40 people.

 

“I’m quite surprised, we had a nice crowd,” said Gurkow. “It was snowing when we came out, it stopped snowing when we got here. But they came out and it shows the stubbornness of the Jewish spark. When it’s Hanukkah, people come.”

Maurice Sykes was one of those in attendance, marking his fifth year at the event.

“It was decent, but the weather wasn’t great, so I can understand why they didn’t do everything this year,” said Sykes. “It’s still a lovely presentation and it’s nice to meet with the community and it’s wonderful to have an opportunity to talk about this holiday and what it means in terms of freedom: freedom from religious persecution and the chance to express one’s believes without the fear of persecution.”

The event marked the tenth year  the more than ten-foot menorah was lit on the common, which was done in coordination with other Hanukah events at the Pheasant Lane Mall and Lowell City Hall.