FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Sunday marks the first night of Hanukkah. To celebrate, members of the Chabad Jewish Center of Northwest Arkansas got together to light the menorah’s first candle. 

“The message of Hanukkah is that light always wins over darkness, good always prevails over evil,” says Rabbi Mendel Greisman with Chabad Jewish Center of Northwest Arkansas. 

Mendel says he’s been looking forward to celebrating Hanukkah with his fellow members of the synagogue. 

But he feels the true meaning of the holiday is something he can share with every Northwest Arkansan. 

“It appears that every year the world gets darker, and every year we need the Hanukkah lights and the light of our soul to shine brightly more than ever,” says Greisman.  

Last year due to the pandemic, the Chabad Jewish Center wasn’t able to hold its normal first night celebration. 

However this year, Greisman was happy he could welcome everyone back inside for hot latkes, games, and of course the lighting of the menorah. 

“Hanukkah is so much about community; it is so much about family. We missed it so much last year and it has been so wonderful to start off Hanukkah like this,” says Greisman. 

Greisman says for all the other Jewish members of the community who weren’t able to make it tonight, if you need a menorah or candles, he welcomes you to reach out to the center directly, and one will be supplied to you. 

“Our mission is to find everyone and light the flame in every Jewish home,” says Greisman. 

This was also only the first two public lighting ceremonies; the second will be on the last night of Hanukkah next Sunday at 5:00 p.m. on the Fayetteville square.