Seal Beach Menorah ceremony lights cold, clear night

A gathering of many individuals attended the annual Seal Beach Menorah Lighting on Sunday, Dec. 10, in Eisenhower Park. Chanukah will be held Dec. 18 to Dec. 26 this year.

Once the menorah was lit, Rabbi Shmuel Marcus and others began dancing.

Rabbi Shmuel Marcus, of Los Alamitos/Cypress Chabad, greeted the guests and participants. On the phone the following day, he described the turnout as impressive considering the cold. (In a Dec. 12 email, he put the crowd size at 300 to 400 people. He wrote that they gave away 300 donuts and not everyone takes them.)

Later, Seal Beach Police Chief Michael Henderson thanked everyone for braving the cold and the wind.

Fortunately, no rain fell on the gathering.

During the ceremony, Marcus said there was not a cloud in the sky. He was right. He suggested everyone thank the Creator.

Marcus said this was the year of gathering, so just gathering there was a mitzvah. (According to, a mitzvah is “a commandment of the Jewish law” or “a meritorious or charitable act”.)

Free, individually packaged donuts were available to everyone, as were menorah kits, chocolate coins, and driedels.

Seal Beach Officer David Rael-Brook performed the blessing of the donuts.

According to the program for the pre-Chanukah event, “The miracle of Chanukah happened with oil, and we traditionally eat foods fried in oil, like the potato latka or the jelly donut.”

“The Chanukah victory allowed Jews to practice freely, and Jewish education was finally permissible once again, therefore, there is a custom to give Chanukah money ‘Gelt’ to help pay for a Jewish education the Chanukah chocolate coins are a sweet tribute to the Chanukah Gelt,” according to the program.

The Gemini Strings Quartet performed several musical pieces. Singer/songwriter Isaac Gordon played “Light One Candle,”  a Chanukah song from folk singers Peter, Paul, and Mary.

Later, he performed “Blowing in the Wind” and an original composition of his own.

Nine families took turns lighting the candles of the large menorah in Eisenhower Park Sunday night. The first candle, located in the center of the menorah, is called the Shamash. The Reyngold family lit the Shamash for the people of Ukraine.

The other menorah candles, lit by torches because of the size of the tall menorah, were lit by Dennis and Claire Singer, the Kurtz and Werner families, Stan and Pam Rubin, Richard Wolpow and Tali Bercovitz, the Prince family, the Erman family, the Frnco family, and the Rubin and Huntly families.

The producers of the event were Bluma Marcus and Rabbi Marcus of Chabad.