Charles Zurek places the first candle in the Flossmoor Park menorah on Dec. 18, the first night of Hanukkah. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
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Hanukkah Night 1: Charles Zurek serves as community candlelighter

The first night of Hanukkah was frigid, but the Flossmoor Community Relations Commission helped keep the crowd warm inside by serving hot chocolate and candy canes before the menorah-lighting ceremony began at 5 p.m.

Charles Zurek places the first candle in the Flossmoor Park menorah on Dec. 18, the first night of Hanukkah. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
Charles Zurek places the first candle in the Flossmoor Park menorah on Dec. 18, the first night of Hanukkah. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

The ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 18, began the two-week stretch in which both Hanukkah and Kwanzaa religious observances will be celebrated with candle lighting by community members.

Charles Zurek, right, with his family, Christina Lutz, left, and David Zurek. Front row, siblings Naomi, Amara and Bianca. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
Charles Zurek, right, with his family, Christina Lutz, left, and David Zurek. Front row, siblings Naomi, Amara and Bianca. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

The honor of lighting the helper candle and first candle went to Charles Zurek, 10, who first recited the traditional Hanukkah blessing, “Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah,” which in English is “Praised are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who made us holy through your commandments and commanded us to kindle the Hanukkah lights.”

Charles’ family was there to support him, including parents, David Zurek and Christina Lutz, and siblings Naomi, 8, and twins Amara and Bianca, 5.

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