Some images and stories over the years

Introduction: Hanukkah in America 

Historians tell us that from the 1820s on, America's celebration of Christmas grew from a small religious holiday to one of public and home displays, community and church observances, shopping and gift-giving. Before the great wave of Eastern European immigration that began in 1881, Jews were less than one percent of the US population. With more than 99 percent of the citizenry, the churches and the stores celebrating Christmas with ever-increasing vigor. Churches began to hold programs for children to teach them the religious aspect of Christmas. Soon synagogues began to hold Hanukkah programs for their children. American Jews expanded the minor festival of Hanukkah, that usually fell near Christmas, to become a more important and festive time for children and their families. 

A time line as revealed by newspaper accounts

1946 - oldest report of an outdoor menorah
Cleveland Jewish Center at its Park School in Cleveland Heights

The congregation, Anshe Emeth Beth Tefilo, would build Park Synagogue on this site in 1950 No picture. 
1955 - Oldest picture of an outdoor Hanukkah Menorah

The Hebrew Academy, at 1860 Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights.
Reported in the Jewish Independent, December 3, 1955 
Irving Stone, who funded this outdoor menorah, played a role in the 1976 menorah in Public Square.


1976 - Chabad Menorah downtown, on city property

The photo below was in the Cleveland Jewish News, along with letters from readers, most in support of the display.


1980 Outdoor Menorah at Jewish Community Federation 1750 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland


2019 - Downtown on Public Square by Chabad

Due to COVID-19 there was no menorah downtown in 2020


How Christmas developed in the 1800s

How Hanukkah developed
Three resources, all by Professor Dianne Ashton, author of a 2013 book Hanukkah in America:

The Chabad-Lubavitch Hanukkah Menorahs


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