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A Brief History of Wilmington's Annual Menorah Parade



After a year full of disaster and violence, a holiday parade full of light is something people of all faiths can get behind, which is why Rabbi Chuni Vogel of Chabad Lubavitch of Delaware lights up when he starts to talk about the annual Menorah Parade.

On Dec. 18, a caravan of 25 to 30 cars will cruise various locations with menorahs made of metal tubing, wood and PVC tubes strapped to their roofs. At 31 years, the parade is a tradition, but it wasn’t always welcomed warmly. Early on, when the parade consisted of only a few cars, one of the menorahs was vandalized. “As a result there was such a positive response, and it became one of the biggest Jewish gatherings,” says Vogel. “The greater the darkness, the more one needs to have the light shine.”

The parade started as only a few cars and has consistently grown. “It far exceeded my initial expectations,” says Vogel, who came to Delaware over 30 years ago from London.

This year’s parade will start at the Siegel Jewish Community Center at 5 p.m., then travel down Concord Pike to Rodney Square in downtown Wilmington, where donuts will be served and Hanukkah candles will be distributed. The parade will later continue to Trolley Square, Independence Mall, Concord Mall and through some neighborhoods in North Wilmington.

“The parade has become a fixture,” Vogel says. “People expect it and look forward to it. They snap pictures and wave because it’s a beautiful sight and something different. The whole theme of Hanukkah is of publicity—right over might. The few will overcome the many.”

Visit chabadde.com for more.