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‘Yes, we CAN’ punctuates last night of Chanukah

Thursday, 1 January, 2009 - 10:53 am

More than a dozen children were selected to ride in a stretch limo, leading the Chabad Chanukah parade of cars on Sunday, Dec. 28.
More than a dozen children were selected to ride in a stretch limo, leading the Chabad Chanukah parade of cars on Sunday, Dec. 28.

A parade of more than 20 vehicles, filled with Chanukah festival-revelers, drove from Chabad Outreach on Fondren Road to Chabad of Uptown, near The Galleria, on Sunday, Dec. 28. On this eighth night of Chanukah, vehicles sported lighted chanukiyot and some played festive music from rooftop speakers. A stretch limo – filled with children – led the procession of privately owned vehicles.

Inside Chabad of Uptown, more families gathered together for Chanukah treats and building a chanukiyah out of canned goods, which would be donated to the Houston Food Bank and other needy Houstonians. Rabbi Shimon Lazaroff greeted the crowd, and eight members of the audience were invited to light candles which were placed atop the cans.

Rabbi Chaim Lazaroff delivered an impassioned speech, borrowing from the theme of President-elect Barack Obama’s recent campaign, and relating the theme to Chanukah. “This menorah – this physical embodiment of hope and change,” he said, “was built by you, by your donation, your dedication, your devotion.“. . . Yes, we CAN is the message of Chanukah,” Rabbi Chaim Lazaroff said. “If there is anyone out there who still doubts – the message of Chanukah – that a little light pushes away great darkness, that the few CAN conquer the many, that ultimately goodness and righteousness will triumph – tonight is your answer.

“When the Syrian Greeks wanted to destroy Judaism, to force us to abandon Torah and G-d, when the world said, give up, you’re fighting the mightiest army in the world, No, you can’t – the Maccabees stood up and declared, Yes, we CAN. And, they rallied the Jewish people, rededicated the Temple and earned, for themselves and subsequent generations, a miracle, a miracle of Yes, we CAN.”

As Rabbi Lazaroff drew from life and the year’s events – from fighting for life when faced with illness, to rising up after terrorists struck in Mumbai, to giving tzedekah in times of financial depression, to feeding the hungry, to defending Israel when others call for its destruction – the audience responded with “Yes, we CAN!”

The rabbi’s remarks ended with the theme of change. “Change, we can believe in,” he said. “But, there’s one change that we can really believe in, because it’s the ultimate, the real, the true, the final change. And, that’s the change that will come with Moshiach, the change that will transform the world, the change that will actualize the message of Chanukah – when light will completely and totally push away the darkness."
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