A menorah lighting and Chanukah celebration was held the evening of Dec. 5 at Coventry P.E.A.C.E Park – the first such event in the Cleveland Heights park.

Sarah Popivker, who organized the event with her husband, Alec, said they wanted to create a celebration in the park to engage both the Jewish and non-Jewish community, and allow non-Jews to stop by, ask questions and learn more.

“Ignorance is what creates a lot of problems in the world,” she said, adding that she and her husband are advocates against antisemitism and they believe exposure to Jewish customs can help stop prejudice.

About 35 people attended the event on the eighth night of Chanukah, which included holiday foods and music.

Polo Kraus, a Cleveland State University student, lit the shamash. Kraus was chosen to do so, Alec Popivker said, because he’s an ally to the Jewish community who is working with the Popivkers to “fight misinformation” on campus.

Alec Popivker, who lives in Cleveland Heights with his family, decorated the large menorah with rainbow colors – apropos for the Coventry neighborhood – and with designs representing Jewish stories and teachings.

“The real story here is about when we go into the world, into the darkness, and we find not only do we bring light there, but we find sparks in the darkness,” he said.

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