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Hanukkah Festival Celebrates Fifth Night

The Chabad-Lubavitch of Arlington and Alexandria hosted a public celebration Sunday night

The event celebrated the fifth night of Hanukkah with traditional singing, free holiday food and an iPod giveaway.

"It's extremely important to foster a sense of community in our area and really welcome everyone," Rachel Cohen said. "Hanukkah is celebrated with your family, and I count everyone here as a member of mine. I'm so lucky that I'm surrounded by loved ones and friends on this holiday."

Open to the public, the event started outside with a ceremonial lighting of the menorah, traditional prayers and seasonal songs. Attendees hurried inside to get out of the cold, but not before their children had received dreidels and gelt.

"This is my first year celebrating Hanukkah," Elizabeth Stone said. "This holiday is important to my boyfriend, and I'm glad I can celebrate it with him. I'm learning so much."

In an upstairs banquet room, guests eagerly lined up for traditional Hanukkah treats including latkes and applesauce, doughnuts and fried chips. Traditional food is cooked in oil because it reminds people of the holy oil the holiday celebrates.

"I love latkes and applesauce," Jacob Gold said. "The best part about coming in from the cold just now is devouring hot latkes. I grew up with these, so they'll always be a personal favorite."

The Chabad-Lubavitch of Arlington and Alexandria is known for offering "Judaism with a Smile" and proudly fosters Jewish awareness with events, education and social services. For more information, visit the website.

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