By Melissa Fili
MethuenLife Writer

Flames from the city’s menorah brightened spirits – and solemn hearts – as the Jewish community celebrated Hanukkah.

About 20 guests were in attendance, including residents and members of our police force, for the lighting which was led by Rabbi Asher Bronstein of Chabad Lubavitch Jewish Center of the Merrimack Valley. It was held Dec. 10 on the grounds of the Methuen Police Station.
Amid the nationwide rise in anti-Semitism and the war between Israel and Hamas, the eight-day “Festival of Lights” is especially poignant for the Jewish people this year.

The rabbi invited Police Chief Scott McNamara to light the menorah’s first wick, then welcomed attendees to light three more in honor of the Jewish holy holiday. That was followed by prayer and songs.

“There are good things about you. God blessed you in many ways,” Bronstein told the group. “Hanukkah is the time to focus on it and thank God for all the good that you all have.”

“It’s important, given the events of October of this year, that you hear your police chief state – unequivocally – that we here in the Methuen Police Department stand by the Jewish community,” McNamara said, in reference to violence against Jews. “We honor you, we love you, we appreciate you. We will be there for you throughout.”

“I have many friends in police chiefs,” Bronstein told the crowd. “But this was one of the only chiefs that sent a text to me right after Oct. 7. He said, ‘Rabbi if there’s anything I can do, please let me know. Don’t think of me as a stranger.’

“I give you a lot of credit,” the rabbi said, shaking McNamara’s hand.

Following the menorah lighting, the crowd headed inside the Quinn Building for camaraderie and refreshments.