Chanakuh on Union Square

Well although I'm not much of a religious person, I have over the years admired the Jewish faith. It's not so much the religious part of it I guess, as much as the tradition part of it and the strong sense of community and culture that the religion fosters. Without getting into the politics of Judaism, I've always admired the rich sense of family and closeness that the religion seems to embrace. When I was growing up as a kid my father had a deep sense of respect for the Jews. Perhaps this is where my respect for the religion is rooted. Although my dad was a Christian and not a Jew, he had many close friends that were Jews and we even celebrated Passover a few times at our home when he had some of his Jewish friends over. Even this Christmas I still sensed my father's respect for the Jewish customs and traditions when he lit a menorah in our family home.


I'm nowhere near as religious as my father, in fact not religious at all, but I did enjoy watching the lighting of the menorah in Union Square earlier this evening. Apparently they have been lighting the menorah in Union Square since 1975. Legendary rock promoter Bill Graham was a force behind this and despite the religious tones of the ceremony in the public space, it has gone on now for over 30 years. The Rabbi who spoke tonight reflected back on Bill Graham and his contributions to the Union Square lighting. He talked about Bill also being involved with a psychedelic Christmas Tree one year. He remembered a solitary word that Bill Graham spoke to him when he was asked why the ceremony was so important to him. That single word was survival.


The ceremony was a moving tribute and it is nice to see that here in San Francisco in 2005 you can still spend a few minutes in the early evening with strangers and observe this public event even as an outsider. Here is another account from years past that I found on the ceremony. I've got a short set up on Flickr of tonight's lighting.


Merry Christmas and a Happy Chanukah to all.

  • hector sunshine 6y

    very cinematic, very real
  • 7x7 Magazine 6y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called 7x7 Holiday, and we'd love to have this added to the group!
  • Ѕhims PRO 6y

    Somehow I wish this was more powerful then what's here

    -Voted 'delete' (by the Delete Me Uncensored Group) using csratr
  • Troy Holden PRO 6y

    captures the feeling of the holidays.

    -Voted 'save' (by the Delete Me Uncensored Group) using csratr
  • Ryan Dearth 6y

    what shims said

    -Voted "delete2" (by the Delete Me Uncensored Group)
  • Rhys Logan PRO 6y

    yeah, a bit gray, maybe get tighter, cool idea though
  • Daniel Krieger PRO 6y

    you're all nuts this is great

  • !STORAX PRO 6y

    Nice available-light moment

  • Benjamin Heath 6y

    The DOF works well to bring me eye to the lighting of the candles. Excellent.

  • Benjamin Heath 6y

    bring *my* eye. I am not a pirate.
  • Jakub Kowalczyk 6y

    Fine photo! I think, you may turn the temperature littlebit lower, but it's okay.

    -Voted 'save5' (by the Delete Me Uncensored Group) using csratr
  • luxx11 6y

    not really doing it for me, I think more fire and less arms would be better, also that green spot attracts too much attention
  • Ventri 6y

    seems religious, green light is bothersome

    -Voted 'delete5' (by the Delete Me Uncensored Group) using csratr
  • Jorge Gonzalez PRO 6y

    Nice night shot!

  • wendy*martyn 6y

    marvelous SAVE8
  • Gary Denness PRO 6y

    Nice story and great shot. I can relate to this - I'm very much a non religion person, but I can appreciate the brand of Catholicism in Mexico DF and the sense of community, family and tradition it brings with it.

    -Voted "save9" (by the Delete Me Uncensored Group)
  • Miguel Barreiro PRO 6y

    my honor to
  • Peter Menkin 6y

    I am a Religion Writer for San Francisco and I am trying to contact you to use your photo of the Union Square Menorah lighting, 2005. My email:
    Please contact me to give me permission. The page is up, by the way in the Religion & Spirituality section on the web with the photo.
    I will probably want to see some of your other work from time to time since you take such good photographs, and so many of San Francisco's Bay Area. I do note you have Creative Commons, but I stil like to ask permission.
    Yours truly,
    Peter Menkin
    Mill Valley, CA
    (north of San Francisco)
  • Jesse Conklin PRO 5y

    Wonderful shot! I love the whole series. Nicely done.
  • © Jamie Mitchell PRO 4y

    Please add this image to Spiritual Earth
151 faves
Taken on December 28, 2005
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