Plaza to Host Hanukkah Rites Tonight

In celebration of the seventh night of Hanukkah, a large menorah will be lit as part of a traditional Jewish ceremony tonight at the Buenaventura Plaza in Ventura.

Rabbi Yakov Latowicz of Chabad, an international Orthodox Jewish organization, will officiate the candlelight ceremony at 6 p.m. The menorah has been displayed in the mall since the beginning of Hanukkah on Dec. 22.

The celebration will include dreidel spinning, traditional Jewish food, dancing and music by an Israeli band. The Hanukkah tradition of dreidel spinning is taken from Jewish history during the Greek persecution. Children would pretend to be playing with dreidels--spinning tops--to cover up studying the Torah when soldiers would pass by.

Latowicz, who is from Melbourne, Australia, started the Ventura branch of Chabad two years ago after moving from Brooklyn with his wife, Sarah. Chabad offers educational, social and religious services to Jews of all backgrounds and affiliations. Services are held at the Chabad House, 5850 Thille St., Ventura.

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