Richmond Jewish Day School is located on No. 5 Road which has been named the Highway to Heaven and within it holds more than 20 places of worship, education, and cultural practice. The temples, churches and religious schools all celebrate the LIGHT during the winter season. The Celebration of Light began with the idea of celebrating the diversity within our school and throughout Richmond.
On the last night of Chanukah, Richmond Jewish Day School hosted a night of coexistence, unity and light. After parking at the India Cultural Center, folks aged 5 to 70 lined up at the entrance as our gym filled with excitement. The night moved through hopeful speeches addressed by: Ezra Shanken, CEO of Jewish Federation of Vancouver, Rabbi Baitelman from Chabad Richmond, Rabbi Tendler from Beth Tikvah Congregation, Councillor Bill NcNulty and the mayor of Richmond, Malcolm Brodie, where the word bridges, freedom, unity, light and together echoed through our minds.
The Richmond Jewish Day School Choir sang classic Chanukah songs, including a piece that called our audience to “celebrate our light” and our Israeli Dancers showcased two Israeli dances.
The voices of our neighbours were also heard. We sent the question out to the community asking what “light” means to them during this holiday season. Each answer had a different and unique point of view, however, at the core, every response reflected on hope, optimism, knowledge, community, compassion, joy, openness, anticipation, and the goodness in humanity. We want to thank Navshina Savory from the Richmond School District, Umran Bhatti from Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Balwant Sanghera from Gurdwara Nanak Niwas, Edward James Wong from St. Monica Parish Roman Catholic Church, Russ Klein and Rabbi Stephen Berger from King David High School, the Bahai Community, and the chair of the Highway to Heaven Association for their thoughtful insights and participation.
On their way out guest were able to help themselves to coffee, water, and traditional Chanukkah delights like latkas (potato pancakes), sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts), and other fried goods. The night ended with our hearts filled with the warmth that only unity, a strong community, and good food on a cold winter night, can bring.
Thank you again to everyone who spoke, attended, and participated in this event.