Mayor-elect Billy Portman lights the Menorah in Riverside Gardens Park. Below, Rabbi Dovid Harrison addressing the gathering. 

Against a backdrop of growing antisemitism nationally and globally, several dozen Jews and supporters gathered at Riverside Gardens Park in Red Bank for an annual Menorah lighting Tuesday night.

The event featured latkes, above, and traditional song. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Rabbi Dovid Harrison of Congregation Beth Shalom in Red Bank reflected on the origins of Hanukkah, when ancient Jews, led by a kohen, or priest, rebelled against their Syrian oppressors in Jerusalem.

It was “a time of brutal religious persecution, when Hellenism was stifling the Jewish spirit, and the future of Judaism hung in the balance,” Harrison told participants. “The kohen’s actions taught us that no matter how bleak the outlook, Judaism, and good, would ultimately triumph.”

“That’s what Hanukkah is all about. It’s about standing up for what’s right,” Harrison told redbankgreen. “Standing up for the oppressed, keeping our traditions strong and never backing down.”

If you value the news coverage provided by redbankgreen, please become a financial supporter for as little as $1 per month. Click here to set your own level of monthly or annual contribution.