The second menorah lighting ceremony at Beverly Hills City Hall in recent years was held Tuesday to mark the third night of Hanukkah.
Mayor Bob Wunderlich provided a brief overview of Hanukkah traditions and extended holiday well wishes at the 4:30 p.m. ceremony celebrating Judaism’s eight-day commemoration of the temple rededication that followed the Maccabees’ victory over a larger Syrian army.
The ceremony came two days after several antisemitic flyers were found on front yards of homes in Beverly Hills in what police called a hate incident. The police department provided additional patrols throughout the city Sunday in an attempt to ensure a safe holiday season.
A menorah lighting ceremony was also held at Beverly Hills City Hall in 2019.
Then-Mayor John Mirisch said in a 2019 interview he had “been suggesting this for a number of years” but “there was some hesitation from some of the other council members because” of concern of violating the separation of church and state.
City Attorney Laurence Wiener “suggested we should have symbols of (other) holidays, including a Christmas tree” and celebrate “the cultural and historical” themes of Hanukkah, rather than the religious ones, to maintain “the separation of church and state,” Mirisch said.
The proposal won “the support of most of the council,” Mirisch told City News Service.
Beverly Hills was unable to hold a menorah lighting ceremony at City Hall in 2020 because of restrictions on gatherings related to the coronavirus pandemic.
In connection with Hanukkah, Los Angeles City Hall and the US Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles will be lit in yellow nightly though Sunday as part of “Shine A Light,” a nationwide effort by The Jewish Federations of North America seeking to raise awareness of antisemitism.