On Sunday, the fifth night of Hanukkah, U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) joined a local rabbi in lighting a nearly 7-foot Jerusalem stone menorah at Fashion Island.
With Thanksgiving and the Festival of Lights falling on the same long weekend, the Christian congressman highlighted the struggles for religious freedoms faced by the Pilgrims and the Maccabees.
"Its very symbolic to me because I identify with America first and foremost," he said, "and America, first and foremost, is about respecting other people's faith, or lack of faith."
The eight-day Jewish holiday and Thanksgiving coincided this year for the first time since 1889, something that will not happen again for hundreds of years, according to Rabbi Reuven Mintz of Newport Beach's Chabad Jewish Center.
"It's a holiday where we celebrate the message of the menorah, which is universal, over religious freedom across the globe," Mintz said. "Freedom over oppression, light over darkness, the weak over the mighty."