© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Chanukah spreads light and warmth at Canalside

Mike Desmond

The Hebrew prayer from Chabad House Rabbi Moshe Gurary echoed across Canalside Thursday night, as a delegation prepared to light three flames on the menorah towering over the ice rink.

For the second year, the event began with a parade of cars with menorahs on the roof, from North Buffalo to the waterfront. Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation President Tom Dee welcomed the crowd.

"The message of hope will shine bright for all to see when they come to Canalside to enjoy the season," Dee said. "Canalside is a place that bustles with activity all year long. It is also a place of reflection."

Rabbi Gurary told the story of the small amount of oil that burned for eight days, as the Temple in Jerusalem was being purified after Jews took the city back from the Seleucid Empire two millennia ago.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

"The little jug of oil that was found to light the Temple menorah and the Jews that found that little jug of oil were in a dilemma," Gurary said. "Should we use that little jug and have the menorah lit only for one day and then many people be disappointed when there's no more oil, or should they just start with it and hope for the best."

Gurary said the message of Chanukah is to spread the word of light and warmth in a dark world.

"What we learn from Chanukah is: don't wait until you have a lot more," he said. "As soon as you have little bit of light, a little bit of hope, a little bit of warmth, start right away spreading that light. Spread that warmth and that will go a long way to bring much light into this dark world."

As the three additional flames were lit on the nine-branched menorah, music echoed around Canalside and on the walkway below the menorah and Jewish men in black hats and beards danced on the walkway next to the ice rink.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.