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Giant menorah lighting celebrates first night of Hanukkah

The eight-day holiday celebrates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem after it was retaken by the Maccabees.

AMHERST, N.Y. — Sunday marked the first night of Hanukkah, and many celebrated the evening with the lighting of a giant community menorah.

The ceremony was held at the Tops International Plaza on Maple Road in Amherst. The eight-day holiday celebrates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem after it was retaken by the Maccabees.

The event in Amherst featured prizes for kids, doughnuts, and a gelt drop. A ladder fire truck also dropped chocolate coins from 25 feet in the air for kids who attended.

"It's a very joyous occasion," Rabbi Moshe Gurary of the Chabad House of Buffalo said. "Last year we were amidst very tough COVID times. Today, thank God, things are a little lighter, so the whole community is coming out to celebrate Hanukkah.

"Hanukkah is a symbol of light, hope, and optimism, and it's a great holiday to celebrate."

The menorah lit Sunday evening is one of the tallest in the country Rabbi Gurary added.

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