Celebrating Hanukah In South Mississippi

It was a historic night for the Jewish community, one Amy Cronenberg wanted her son Alex to participate in.

"We're proud of our heritage and culture.  He can look around and see that all these people are here for the same reason, and he'll want to go up and do it with his children.  It's really important to us to pass on the tradition," said Cronenberg.

Alex and others gathered for Hanukah On The Coast, the first ever public Menorah Lighting Ceremony in south Mississippi.

Student Rabbi Noah Farkus says it's a celebration with a message that reaches beyond the Jewish faith.

"What Hanukah teaches in its most universal message is that the world is always striving for something better and lighting the Menorah is a way for us to symbolically recognize that we're always trying to build a better community together," said Farkus.

Hanukah, in part, commemorates the Jews' victory over the Greek-Syrians who tried to forbid them from practicing their faith.  This victory is one event organizer Wyatt Hall says rings true more than 2,000 years later.

"People should be free to worship as they choose and we should always fight against those people who try to crush our spirits and try to oppress us," said Hall.

Standing up for what you believe and building a better community, universal messages many who came out say they can take away from Hanukah.

The Hanukah celebration lasts 8 days. The lighting of the Menorah represents the miracle of the burning light in the temple.  After their victory, the Jews rededicated the temple at Mount Moriah.  It is said they only enough oil to light the temple light for one day, but the light kept burning for eight.