Gov. Henry McMaster speaks at Chanukah in the Square event (Source: Live 5)
Holocaust survivor Joe Ingel helps light menorah at the event (Source: Live 5)
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -
Governor Henry McMaster paid a visit to the Lowcountry Sunday to take part in an annual Chanukah event in downtown Charleston.
The 13th annual Chanukah in the Square was held in Marion Square, hosted by the College of Charleston’s Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program.
The event is said to be the largest annual Jewish event in the state of South Carolina, bringing folks from the community, several Jewish organizations, various religions, and state officials together to celebrate the holiday.
"It's so wonderful,” said Mark Swick, the Jewish community liaison for the program at the College of Charleston. “We're so lucky to have such vibrant community support for the event since it started."
Nightfall marks the sixth day of Chanukah and many families could be seen taking part in the tradition of holding lights and candles, and eating food like the potato pancakes known as latkes.
"It symbolizes the oil that burned longer than it was supposed to - by frying the potato pancakes," said Rita Busman who helped make nearly 2,000 latkes.
"Chanukah is the festival of lights and it commemorates Jewish perseverance and the ability of a small group of Jews to overcome obstacles," Swick said.
To help celebrate the holiday Gov. McMaster spoke about his love for history and the high esteem he has for the Jewish community.
"Who can help but admire, respect and treasure the history of strength, endurance, determination, and accomplishment of the Jewish people from persecution, from the Holocaust," he said.
While McMaster was among several noteworthy speakers at the event, one of the more emotional aspects in the program was who would light the large menorah on stage.
Gov Henry McMaster, his wife, and Mayor Tecklenburg are in the line-up to give speeches at the event. That should happen in 40 minutes. #chsnewspic.twitter.com/9KDCztmzMP
The CofC Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program teamed up with Chabad of Charleston - Center for Jewish Life, the City of Charleston’s Office of Cultural Affairs, and many other community organizations to make the event possible.