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Cranston celebrates the Festival of Lights
THE FOURTH CANDLE IS THE LIGHT OF FAMILY: Cranston residents and Mayor Allan Fung gather around the menorah as Rabbi Yossi Laufer lights the candles and says the blessings.

Cranston is a city filled with pride and tradition. One of the longest standing traditions around the holiday season, besides the lighting of the city's Christmas Tree, is the lighting of the city menorah.

For many years, Rabbi Yossi Laufer from West Bay Chabad along with the mayor of Cranston recite the traditional blessings and try to make a festive evening out of the event. This year, Mayor Allan Fung joined Laufer and Cranston residents for the lighting on Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Rabbi Laufer praised Fung for embracing all religions in the city, and encouraging and supporting his citizens to celebrate their holidays with pride.

Laufer then offered a prayer for Fung to continue to be a faithful and true leader, and to guide the city to prosperity and peace.

Mayor Fung reiterated the Rabbi's sentiment regarding the importance of everyone being able to celebrate their holidays and pray as they choose.

After the candles were lit, the Rabbi led the crowd in singing some traditional Hanukkah songs, and led a group in dancing.

Laufer presented the mayor with a menorah tapestry to use in his office.

“I don't want to create a problem with the fire department, so when you use these candles there is no fire," Laufer quipped.

The Rabbi also presented silver dreidels (traditional Jewish spinning tops) to City Council-elect Don Botts, and School Committee member Paula McFarland, who thanked the Rabbi and said it brought back wonderful memories of her grandfather.

The crowd was treated to hot latkes (potato pancakes) and the children made various arts and crafts projects.

Report and photo by Pam Tcath.

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