Last Thursday, December 10, 2020, Mayor W. Reed Gusciora and The City of Trenton hosted a small Christmas tree and menorah lighting ceremony to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season.

At 4:30 p.m., a crowd gathered outside the front steps of City Hall at 319 East State Street to mark the first night of Hanukkah as well as the ongoing Christmas season. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, no public announcement was made this year and the event exercised social distancing according to the CDC guidelines.

Mayor Gusciora was accompanied by Rev. Ethan Evans and Rabbi Jordan Goldson to assist in lighting both the Christmas tree and menorah. In a joint countdown with the community, Mayor Gusciora illuminated the tree before the local fire department passed in loud sirens with Santa himself riding a firetruck.

Once the tree was lit, the crowd gathered at the large menorah, located in the lawn of City Hall, for the lighting with Rabbi Goldson.

Rabbi Jordan Goldson and Mayor W. Reed Gusciora lighting the first light on the menorah. Photo by George Sowa

“Even when it’s light out, it is really dark,” said Rabbi Goldson referring to this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This holiday (Hanukkah) is a festival of lights, which reminds us that even when things are most dark, that there’s hope, and we can look to the future for things to change in the right way.”

He continued, “Each one of us is represented by one light, and so whatever it is that you do to make a difference, is huge. So I encourage us all to be optimistic and to do our part.”

Following his few words, Rabbi Goldson led the community in a blessing through a chant in Hebrew before lighting the first light of the menorah.

“Events like this remind us how spiritually connected we are,” said Mayor Gusciora. “I hope that even in this time of COVID, we can all join our family and friends and celebrate this beautiful, holy holiday.”