Darkness into light

PRINCEVILLE — On Tuesday evening, the eighth and final night of the Jewish holiday Chanukah, more than 100 people gathered for the last public menorah lighting in the world.

“It’s significant,” Rabbi Michoel Goldman said of holding a ceremony in the latest time zone. “It’s like we’re wrapping it up for the world.”

Usually, the event is held on the bluff adjacent to the St. Regis Princeville Resort. However, rain moved the ceremony onto a hotel balcony.

Kapaa resident Ellie Marcus, originally from New York, said it was her first time attending the Kauai event and agreed it had a special feel.

“I think it’s interesting that there’s a Jewish population out here in Kauai that can come out for this last lighting of the year on Earth,” she said.

Tuesday’s event included a musical performance by local Jewish musicians Ken Solin, Steve Dubey, Miles Greenberg, Ron Margolis and Toby Brown.

Around 6 p.m., with a steady drizzle still falling, Dr. Binyomin Yosef lit the tiki-torch menorah, with a muddy and dreary looking Hanalei Bay as a backdrop.

Goldman reminded those gathered about the importance of “transforming darkness into light,” the theme of this year’s event.

Sometimes, he said, it takes facing life’s biggest challenges, the darkest days, for a person’s true light to shine.

Aaron Cohen, of Kapaa, said he was pleased with the turnout and could feel a strong energy coming from those who gathered.

While Chanukah is just one of many Jewish holidays, Cohen stressed its importance.

“It’s very important to remember where we come from,” he said. “Always remember where we come from, where it all starts. This is only one story.”

One of the reasons Goldman said he chooses to use tikis for the menorah is the idea of taking something mundane and making it holy.

With the help of the Internet and social media, his hope is that Jewish people around the world would be waking up to see pictures of the menorah being lit in the farthest corner of the world — Kauai.

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