The legislature of Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province, lit its first ever public menorah on its lawn to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah.
Sixty members of the Jewish community attended the event in Charlottetown to watch as the nearly three meter tall electric menorah was lit on Sunday evening, CBC News reported.
While a small number of Jews have lived in the province of nearly 157,000 people since the end of the 19th century, the community today numbers approximately 39 Jewish homes, according to Jewish Federations of Canada.
Community member Martin Rutte called the menorah lighting “historic.”
"I cannot tell you how excited I was,” Rutte told CBC News.
He added: "In 1898 there was actually a Jewish store across the street on Grafton. And for that man to have thought from 1898 to 2021 there would actually be a public menorah lighting on the legislative grounds of the P.E.I. Legislature is beyond belief.”
Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King spoke at the event. He encouraged the Jewish community to eat extra latkes this year, with potatoes being a main part of the province’s economy that has been hampered by a trade export suspension with the U.S.
The tiny Jewish community does not have a synagogue. However, community member Joseph Glass said that the province’s Jewish population has been “evolving, growing” and he hoped that “maybe one day we will build a synagogue and a cemetery.”
He described the event as “wonderful” and hoped that Jewish children will “come back every year and be part of the lighting ceremony.”