It was a first-of-its-kind feeling of unity for the Jewish communities of Regina and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, when they joined for simultaneous province-wide Chanukah celebrations separated by 250 snow-swept kilometers.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, who helped light the giant menorah outside the stately Saskatchewan legislative building in Regina, addressed his remarks to both communities, joking that he hoped all the latkes [potato pancakes] had been fried in heart-healthy canola oil, a major Saskatchewan export.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall helped light the giant menorah outside the stately Saskatchewan legislative building in Regina.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall helped light the giant menorah outside the stately Saskatchewan legislative building in Regina.

Rabbi Avrohom Simmonds, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Regina, says he had planned for between 100 and 150 attendees and was overwhelmed when more than 250 people showed up for the first major event that he and his wife, Shterna, hosted since moving to Regina this past summer.

“We prepared 225 doughnuts, 450 latkes and 75 kids’ bags—and all that was left over were a handful of latkes!” he exclaimed.

A similar-sized group gathered to kindle a towering menorah in the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon, where they were treated to a 15-piece klezmer band, holiday treats and fun for the entire family.

Rabbi Raffi Kats, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Saskatoon, says his community will also be celebrating with a 30-car menorah parade, parties for adults and children, and a number of public menorahs, some of which will be solar-powered.

Rabbi Avrohom Simmonds, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Regina, says he had planned for between 100 and 150 attendees and was overwhelmed when more than 250 people showed up.
Rabbi Avrohom Simmonds, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Regina, says he had planned for between 100 and 150 attendees and was overwhelmed when more than 250 people showed up.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, center, with leaders of the Jewish community after receiving a menorah from Rabbi Simmonds.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, center, with leaders of the Jewish community after receiving a menorah from Rabbi Simmonds.