Chabad of Shelton & Monroe will be hosting a public menorah celebration on the Huntington Green on Sunday, Dec. 22, at 5 p.m.

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., has 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 Rabbi Shneur Brook, who directs The Chabad Jewish Center together with his wife, Leah. “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 feature a Chocolate Gelt Drop enabled by the White Hills Fire Station of Shelton. The highlight — the lighting of the nine-foot-tall menorah — will follow with the participation of Mayor Mark Lauretti.

The public menorah lighting is 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.

Sandy is a teacher in the community, who is planning to attend the public celebration despite her initial discomfort with expressing her Jewish identity so publicly and openly.

“They want us to be afraid, to fear proudly proclaiming our Jewish identity,” said Sandy. “I usually just light the menorah at home, but with all the anti-Semitism we are witnessing around us, I’m also going to join the public menorah lighting because I think this is the most effective thing we can do to fight evil. We need to be taking it head-on.”

For more information, visit www.JewishShelton.com/chanukah or call 203-364-4149. RSVP would be appreciated.