Chabad of Shelton & Monroe, led by Rabbi Shneur Brook,

hosted a gathering for the annual menorah lighting celebration on the Huntington Green on Sunday, Dec. 22.

The recent rise in hate speech and hate crimes nationwide, including deadly shootings in Pittsburgh, Pa., Poway, Calif., and most recently in Jersey City, N.J., had event organizers expecting a larger turnout to take a stand against hate in a show of Jewish pride and unity.

“Hanukkah is the celebration of light over darkness,” said Brook. “The darkness that we, as a nation, have been experiencing must be fought with light and goodness, and we are putting together our biggest program ever to show that we will not be intimidated by those who wish to scare us.”

The event will featured a Chocolate Gelt Drop thanks to the White Hills Fire Station of Shelton as well as the lighting of the 9-foot-tall menorah. The public menorah lighting was part of the worldwide Hanukkah campaign, an initiative launched by the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, in 1973, organizers said. The campaign highlights the central theme of the holiday — publicizing the story of Hanukkah.