After 34 years of lighting up Hong Kong’s skyline with a Giant Menorah, it became clear to Rabbi Mordechai and Goldy Avtzon that it would not happen this year.
Owing to a recent fourth wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, Hong Kong is in semi-lock down and the usual site of the Giant Menorah has been barred from any undesignated use.
In what seemed to be a “second best” option, plans were quickly made to hold a Car Menorah Parade.
Car Menorahs, featuring a message in English and Chinese were quickly ordered from across the border in Mainland China and all the necessary logistics were quickly put into place.
By the time the parade concluded, it became obvious that in some ways it was no less impactful than the Giant Menorah Lighting. The sense of pride felt in the over 100 participants spread over 30 cars was huge and the reactions of Jewish and local pedestrians were truly heartwarming.
“The enthusiasm and excitement of the participants have taught me a huge lesson,” says Rabbi Avtzon, Head Shliach of China.
“While 500-800 participants attend our Menorah lighting each year, their participation is relatively passive. In this year’s car parade, the participation was active and, therefore, transformative. The idea that a person should conceal his/her Jewish identity in public has been positively challenged.”
While sign up for the parade was admittedly slow at first, the post-parade excitement has been so high and the feedback so enthusiastic that a ‘Take 2’ parade has been scheduled for the last night of Chanukah. This time a full Menorah of all eight lights traversed and spread its lights across the streets of Hong Kong.
Looking ahead to next year: While we certainly hope that our Giant Menorah will once again stand proudly in the Central District of Hong Kong, the Menorah Parade will continue to be a featured event each Chanukah.