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Jubilee Klezmer Ensemble bassist takes a break at the menorah lighting ceremony in front of the Jelly Belly factory Thursday. The tubes of the menorah will be filled with jelly beans as the days of Hanukkah progress.  

Jewish community lights menorah to celebrate Hanukkah

FAIRFIELD — Rob Buncher and his family, on vacation from Richmond, Va., visited Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and are headed next to Monterey Bay. In between those stops, they visited the Jelly Belly factory on Thursday to take part in the lighting of a candy-filled menorah.

For a Jewish family from the other side of the country, it was as close to home as they could get.

“They’re having a ball,” Buncher said of his family, who brought their menorah with them on vacation and light it every night in their Burlingame hotel room.

The second annual Hanukkah Wonderland brought a few hundred people to the Fairfield candy factory. Children played on the grass with giant bubbles as adults crowded around the menorah listening to the music of the Jubilee Klezmer Ensemble, a group in part named after the celebratory music it plays with roots in the Middle Ages.

Just before 5 p.m. it was time to light the menorah on the third night of Hanukkah. This particular menorah is special. One of the plastic branches is filled each night with jelly beans until all eight are filled.

Fairfield Mayor Harry Price, Suisun City Vice Mayor Mike Hudson and state Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, helped Rabbi Chaiam Zaklos of Chabad of Solano County pour jelly beans in. Yellow ones were chosen. Candles were then placed and lit on three of the branches.

Price said the lighting of the menorah will bring a more compassionate community.

“We will awaken tomorrow with a more enlightened look on life,” he told the crowd.

Zaklos said the menorah is a symbol teaching that “we must constantly grow and add.” His community has done so over the last two years. He described that growth as “vibrant.”

“Just as it was a miracle that the Maccabees, against odds, restored the Holy Temple and that a day’s worth of oil lasted eight days, so is the growth of the Chabad of Solano County,” Zaklos said.