St. Pete Congregation Holds Largest Menorah Lighting 

Community members joined together to celebrate the last day of Hanukkah at the Congregation B’nai Israel on Sunday, December 9. The “Let There Be Light” event was led by Rabbi Philip Weintraub, right, along with St. Petersburg Mayor, Rick Kriseman, center.

Menorahs that sat inanimate for most of the year were completely aflame for the last day of Hanukkah on Sunday, December 9.

The Congregation B’nai Israel, 300 58th St. N., held their annual “Let There Be Light” event, complete with a huge outdoor menorah lighting, the burning of over 20 personal menorahs, a latke bar and a few games of dreidel. 

“I just love coming here,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. “I’ve done this every year since I became mayor.” 

Kriseman was the honorary menorah lighter, alongside Rabbi Philip Weintraub, who led the event in prayer.

“The amazing thing about Hanukkah is that we are celebrating something that happened nearly 2,000 years ago,” said Weintraub.

Towering at least 15 feet over its lighters, the outdoor menorah is the largest one in St. Petersburg.

“We’re celebrating Hanukkah here,” said Weintraub. “We have a big party in the community, and it’s open to anyone, regardless of faith.”

Celebrants also brought in canned goods and non-perishable food in the spirit of giving. 

The donated items will become a part of the congregation’s “Mitzvah Menorah,” and will contribute to those in need at Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services. 

“The great thing about St. Pete is that I can do things like this,” said Kriseman. “The tree lighting, the menorah lighting, Ramadan, it’s very diverse.” 

Rabbi Philip Weintraub assisted menorah lighters and led Hanukkah celebrators in song and prayer. “We have to keep telling our stories and spreading peace and light to a world that needs it,” Weintraub said.

Attendees of the “Let There Be Light” event brought their menorahs from home to celebrate the eighth day of Hanukkah at the Congregation B’nai Israel.


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