Chanukah Glows in Nocatee

 Chabad of St. Johns hosts annual celebration

By NewsLine Staff

On Dec. 10, 2015, Chabad of St. Johns held their annual Menorah lighting to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Chanukah (the Festival of Lights) which began on Dec. 6 and ended Dec. 14. This year’s ceremony was held at the Nocatee Splash Park featuring the first ever Chanukah Light Show. An estimated 300 people attended the event.

The high point and centerpiece of the event was the lighting of a 7 ft. glow-in-the-dark Menorah, the eight branched candelabra lit to celebrate the miracle of light and religious freedom. As a part of the festivities, local families munched on glow-in-the-dark doughnuts, painted glow-in-the-dark faces and created glow-in-the-dark crafts with their children.

Chabad’s Jewish Life Center Rabbi Mendel and Dini Sharfstein organized the event. Prior to the lighting of the Menorah, two children from the Grow After School Enrichment Program, which takes place every Tuesday at Durbin Creek Elementary, sang “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel.” The lighting was performed by Rabbi Mendel Sharfstein with guests David Ray, Nocatee community manager and Dr. Todd Rasner and his young son, Avi.

Chabad’s Jewish Life Center Rabbi Mendel Sharfstein said, “This year’s Chanukah celebrations bring added significance as Jewish communities worldwide celebrate the year of Hakhel, a once-every-seven-years opportunity to celebrate Jewish unity and learning. We want to make sure that the true message of Chanukah makes a lasting impression on everyone who comes for the festivities. And that message is that light always overpowers and vanquishes darkness, good triumphs over evil, freedom over oppression – an eternal message for all people.”

For more information on Chabad’s events and programming for all ages, call 904-701-4422 or visit

Photo courtesy Dini Sharfstein.