LYNNWOOD — Despite the downpour and cold, a crowd gathered around the 9-foot-tall menorah.
People stood shoulder to shoulder holding small, white candles.
A woman used her flame to light other’s candles.
“Thank you for sharing your light,” a man said.
A strong gust blew out one of the candles on the lofty gold menorah.
Rabbi Berel Paltiel, co-director of the Chabad Jewish Center of Snohomish County, stood on a ladder to relight it.
“With a small candle, a small good deed, we can bring light into the world,” Paltiel said.
Everyone cheered at the once again lively flame.
The Chabad Jewish Center of Snohomish County hosted its fifth annual menorah lighting. About 100 people gathered in front of Lynnwood City Hall for the event.
A family of four from Renton drove up for the celebration. Scarlett, 6, danced with her older brother to upbeat Jewish songs.
They joined eight million people from more than 80 different countries in the Jewish Festival of Lights.
Each night of Hanukkah, a single candle is lit on the menorah. By the eighth night, the menorah is in full bloom.
The idea behind the holiday is sharing light.
Though one candle is lit each day at sundown, it does not diminish the original candle’s flame.
“You can share with other people and it won’t take away from your light,” Paltiel said.
He has spent his life sharing with others and bringing together a community.
Paltiel and his wife, Goldie, co-director of the center, moved to Lynnwood more than four years ago.
They were living in Crown Heights in Brooklyn, New York.
“It’s a Chabad neighborhood,” Paltiel said.
Townhome-style houses with stoops tower over narrow roads. During Hanukkah, menorahs sit in every window and front door lighting the streets below.
Crown Heights is home of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, a grand rabbi and leader in Jewish communities.
“He inspired all his students to recognize the best thing we could do in life is to be of service,” Paltiel said. “The message is really universal in terms of spreading love.”
Paltiel said he aims to bring warmth from Crown Heights to Lynnwood.
This year, Paltiel invited Lynnwood Police Chief Tom Davis to speak. Davis has been with the department for three months.
Police across the country have had a challenging year, Paltiel said. The Jewish center wanted to honor local police officers for their work.
There is a saying in the Lynnwood Police Department, Davis said. Whenever something good or funny happens, an officer says “That’s why I work here.”
Monday’s celebration is an example of why he works in Lynnwood, Davis said.
“What they do is in line with the message of the menorah,” Paltiel said. “They’re ambassadors of light.”
Though life brings challenges, Paltiel said the menorah lighting gives hope.
“We see what’s going on in the world, and obviously you have to deal with darkness, but the most effective way to deal with that is with kindness and friendship.”
Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192; firstname.lastname@example.org.