‘Light Up Northborough’ will include first annual menorah lighting, Dec. 4


‘Light Up Northborough’ will include first annual menorah lighting, Dec. 4
A menorah stands off Blake Street in Northborough in front of a tree decorated with Christmas lights. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

NORTHBOROUGH – A menorah will be lit during this year’s “Light Up Northborough” event on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 4:30 p.m. on Blake Street in town. 

It will be the first time that the event has featured a menorah lighting.

Assistant Town Administrator Becca Meekins, who serves on the Northborough’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, noted during a discussion at a recent Nov. 22 Board of Selectmen meeting that Hanukkah lined up with the already-planned tree lighting.

“It felt like the right first step for us — the first of many steps,” Meekins said.

Conversations predate Diversity and Inclusion Committee 

The Community Affairs Committee (CAC) was approached by a resident before the COVID-19 pandemic, asking about a menorah. 

The town’s diversity committee had not been formed at that time. 

Since then, though, Community Affairs Committee Chair Suzy Cieslica has both watched and attended Diversity and Inclusion Committee meetings alongside fellow Community Affairs Committee members. 

“We came back to the Community Affairs Committee, and we just said, ‘We have to look at everything with all new eyes and reevaluate everything that we do and how we go about things,’” Cieslica said on Nov. 22. “So, the first thing that came to mind was the menorah.” 

Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair Tim Kaelin said he, Cieslica and Selectman Leslie Rutan had several conversations. 

It’s about progress, not perfection, Kaelin and Meekins both said. 

Plan aligns with anticipated recommendation 

That aforementioned resident recently met with the Community Affairs Committee to further discuss the menorah. 

Cieslica’s children were at the meeting. They asked about the menorah on their way home. 

“It just further made me realize why we need to do this,” said Cieslica, who is Catholic. 

Kaelin said the Diversity and Inclusion Committee will soon be making recommendations to the selectmen. One of those recommendations, he said, will be to include more celebrations of holidays for different communities within Northborough.

“I do think it’s a good idea to proceed with this,” Rutan said. “I like the whole point of progress versus perfection. 

“I think it’s a wonderful way to start, as long as every step of the way, we’re making it very clear to the entire community that this is a phased approach,” she said.

Lighting set for Dec. 4

Snacks will be provided at the Dec. 4 event. 

The event will feature local singing groups. The menorah will then be lit, and the tree will be lit in honor of PFC Neil Ellsworth.

Other proposals

Separate from Hanukkah, the topic of celebrating holidays from a diverse set of communities recently came up at a Northborough School Committee meeting on Nov. 3.

Eighth grade student Ishita Urs presented during that meeting, asking that the Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough consider including Diwali as an official holiday.

“The Town of Northborough observes numerous holidays — Christmas, Thanksgiving, Columbus Day or Indigenous People’s Day, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and many more,” Urs said. “In order for us to be a truly inclusive community, Diwali should be included in the list of holidays that are observed.”

A planned joint School Committee meeting on Dec. 15 will feature discussion of school calendars, School Committee Chair Lauren Bailey-Jones said on Nov. 3.


Northborough student asks for Diwali to be an observed holiday

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