Organizers, police prepared for annual Menorah in the D celebration

There is a designated place for protesters should any decide to come
Posted at 7:10 PM, Dec 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-07 08:40:53-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Thursday marks the first of eight days of the Jewish holiday Hanukkah.

As part of the celebrations, the annual Menorah in the D event will take place once again at Campus Martius. However this year, a lot of focus is on the security aspect of the event as the Israel-Hamas war continues in the Middle East.

A security fence has been put up along Cadillac Square all the way to Campus Martius to protect folks attending the annual Menorah in the D event. It’s just one of many safety measures that local and federal law enforcement agencies are ramping up for Thursday's event.

“We’ve been preparing for months now,” Detroit Police Department Assistant Chief Charles Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said the department is always ready for any situation.

“We will have three different entry point, three different evolve system. We will have very large police presence and a private security presence as well," he said.

Event producer Benji Rosenzweig has been planning the event for 13 years and says the heightened security will not affect the overall vibe of the event.

“The stage is setup, that’s where everyone participating in the event is going to be. The menorah is behind the truck, and Cadillac Square is where we will fill it up with people,” Rosenzweig said.

Rosenzweig says there is even a designated place for protesters should any decide to come.

“The beautiful thing about protests is that people have the right to protest peacefully. We understand that and they are welcome to do so. But there is a specific space to do that and a specific place for us to have our celebrations,” Rosenzweig said.

He said the designated spots are on the other side of Woodward Avenue and the other side of Randolph Street.

Meanwhile, Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov says he is not concerned about seeing any protestors as a lot has gone into planning for the success of the event, which includes security.

“I have a choice to look at the darkness or the light. We are going to look at the light. We are going to light a candle and we are going to have a good time,” Shemtov said. “Another year, 13th year of Menorah in the D, and thousands of people are going to come and celebrate. We are going to have food and dance, activities for young children also.”

Organizers are expecting 3,000 people to attend the event.