U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders lit a large public menorah at Chabad-Lubavitch of Iowa’s Chanukah celebration on the eighth and final night of Chanukah.

Sanders briefly addressed those gathered, recalling his father, who emigrated from Poland to flee anti-Semitic attacks.

Sanders was introduced by Rabbi Yossi Jacobson, who co-directs Chabad-Lubavitch of Iowa with his wife, Chana. The Jacobsons are perhaps best known for Maccabees Kosher Deli, Chabad’s popular kosher oasis in Des Moines that is frequented by locals and visitors, including the many Jewish campaign staffers of both political parties who visit the state in the months leading up to Iowa’s caucuses.

After donning a kippah, Sanders joined Rabbi Jacobson in lighting the shamash candle, and sang the traditional blessings. Holding a blow-torch — a must for outdoor Chanukah candle-lighting in the cold and wind of Iowa’s winters — Sanders then kindled all eight of the menorah’s lights.

As mayor of Burlington, Vt. in the 1980s, Sanders publicly inaugurated the Chabad-Lubavitch Public Menorah at Burlington’s City Hall, and later directed his administration to defend it in court, defying significant political pressure in doing so.

This year, over 15,000 public menorahs shone throughout the world, including at the vast majority of U.S. state capitols and at the Ellipse near the White House.