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Chanukah inspiration in Duncan

Friday, 14 December, 2012 - 4:34 pm

When planning the "Festival of Light tour" across Vancouver Island, I surly didn't expect that out of all places, the moving Chanukah event would take place in Duncan.

The Mayor of Duncan couldn't participate this year in the lighting in the city square, so he sent his representative, city councilor Mr. Joe Thorne.

As in all of these events, the city representative lights the Shamash, and a member of the community lights the rest of the candles. It was just before the ceremony began that Mr. Oscar Pelta, a Jewish man from Maple Bay agreed to light the Menorah.

Before Mr. Thorne lit the Shamash he shared a few words. "On this Jewish celebration - a Jewish man who lived in my home town when I was growing up comes to mind, Joe was his name. I remember as children we questioned the numbers tattooed on his arm, and he told us about the holocaust and concentration camps...

"While this man had experienced evil in its worst form- he was a kind and compassionate man, who would’t hurt anyone. He was a store owner who would give for free or sell with credit to people who needed, a real kind man".

When I came to the podium to call Oscar to light the Menorah, I saw that he was overwhelmed with emotion. Oscar was born in Bergen-Belsen after the war; his parents had him after they survived the horrors of the holocaust. He was the light that came after the destruction.

On the 3rd night of Chanukah in Duncan, the message of the holiday was as clear as can be. Chase evil with compassion, send darkness with increasing light.

Comments on: Chanukah inspiration in Duncan

Oscar Pelta wrote...

Thank you for your ongoing good works Rabbi Kaplan, and for including me in the ceremony

lindyshortt wrote...

Dear Rabbi Kaplan,

What a beautiful story once again!

Again and again we see, that in our darkest times, lighting the candle of chesed brings light and love. May every mitzvah we do bring light to this world.

From New York,

Stan and Lindy

Elisabeth Gelb wrote...

Dear Rabbi,
The Duncan Menorah lighting was full of light and wonder. We were very happy to participate.
Elisabeth and George

Judy Honickman-Fuller wrote...

What a touching story, Rabbi. Normally I come out each year when you bring the Menorah to Nanaimo, but this year I couldn't participate because I had a previous commitment in Mill Bay that night. As an alternative I was all set to come to Duncan while you were there, but my husband needed to see a specialist at that time, and I always act as his ears and go with him to these appointments. Judging by your description, the comments made by Councillor Joe Thorne and by others who attended, this must have been a very special event, and I look forward to participating in the future. Thanks for all that you do.