On Tuesday, Rabbi Yossi Laufer of Chabad of West Bay in Warwick took Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung's hands and danced.
They were celebrating the fourth night of Hanukkah, surrounded by the Rabbi's large family, members of the congregation, Cranston residents and area political leaders. In the center of the hallway at City Hall a menorah, just lit, cast its light.
"In our lives, once a year, we think about rededication and we come together to light our menorah," Laufer said. "One of the best ways to express it is right here in City Hall, where all people feel united in this building."
A public arena is "one of the best expressions of community we have here in the United States," Loufer said.
The menorah symbolizes many things — not just the Jews overcoming adversity and managing to get eight nights of light with just one small vessel of oil.
It's a time to rededicate your efforts, a time to commit to working together "as a united mankind as all the people of the world work together in peace," Loufer said.
"People always ask me, 'Rabbi, is there hope?'" Loufer said. "I say we live in Rhode Island, so there is Hope. One thing is for sure — having faith is important. Over history, God gave us the strength to overcome challenges. Never lose faith, to never lose hope. God did the rest to allow that jug to last eight days, to give a blessing for health and happiness and peace around the world."
Fung said the city is honored once again to host the annual tradition of a menorah lighting in City Hall.
"It is a celebration of one's faith but most importantly, family traditions," Fung said. "That's something we cherish every day in the city."
The ceremony is a chance for families to share in each others faiths and friendships, Fung said.
"And most importantly, it's a chance to pass on these traditions to the younger generation here today," Fung said as children fidgeted in the lobby.
Also in attendance was Councilman-Elect Don Botts and School Committeewoman-elect Paula McFarland.
Together, Fung and Loufer lit the menorah, followed by singing and dance. Spirits soared, everyone smiled.
And then Loufer gestured towards a table covered in cookies, latkes and other refreshments.
"What is the summary of all Jewish holidays?" Loufer asked. "They tried to kill us. We won. Let's eat!"