Unity shown at Monroeville's Jewish 'Light the Night' event
As he opened the second annual Light the Night event, Rabbi Mendy Schapiro of Chabad Jewish Center of Monroeville reflected on the flame he used to light the large menorah positioned along Route 22 in the Miracle Mile Shopping Center.
“There’s something very interesting about the flame,” Schapiro began. “We are able to share a flame with the candle right next to us, and it won’t diminish. It won’t take away anything from the flame that we’re holding.”
The message of unity and spreading light in the world carried through the event, which Schapiro dedicated to the 11 people who lost their lives in a shooting in their Squirrel Hill synagogue on Oct. 27.
“If anything, (the shooting) is bringing people together, not driving us apart,” said attendee Brad Steinberg of Monroeville. “It’s nice to see the support.”
Such support was evident as people of all ages joined hands to dance to traditional music, sang and enjoyed hot latkes and cookies in the shape of menorahs.
Mayor Nick Gresock called the lights from the menorah “a symbol of life in our community.” He said it showed “that Monroeville doesn’t welcome that kind of hate in our community and that the light of the menorah will cancel out any darkness that is out there.”
When the menorah was lit, the crowd cheered and made room for the fourth-grade Gateway choir students to sing carols.
To wrap up the wintry evening, children scrambled to collect chocolate coins thrown into the crowd from the top of an extended fire truck ladder.
Ennad Murrell-Merriweather’s 9-year-old son stood close by his mother with his coins clutched close. He and his 5-year-old brother each had a handful.
“It was awesome,” said Murrell-Merriweather, who is not Jewish. She brought both her children to the event to show support for her son’s choir performance and the community.
“We support (the Jewish people) in Pittsburgh and everybody here and in our community,” she said.
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @dillonswriting.