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.
"We have Joe Ingel, a survivor of many dark times, and he's brought us so much light to our community," said Anita Zucker, a guest speaker.
Ingel has shared his story several times throughout the Lowcountry of surviving the Holocaust.
"We have to reserve what they said for the future generations to remember," Busman said. "Never again."
Mayor John Tecklenburg, his wife, Senator Sandy Senn, and CofC Provost Brian McGee also spoke at the event.
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.