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At Hanukkah celebration in Chicago suburb, Jews pray for release of all Hamas hostages

Evanston menorah lighting ceremony
Evanston menorah lighting ceremony 01:53

EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) -- As Hanukkah celebrations get underway across the Chicago area, the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas continues to rest heavy on the minds of many.

In north suburban Evanston, where two hostages released by Hamas are from,  a menorah lighting on Sunday was dedicated to those who remain captive.

Members of the Chabad of Evanston gathered to light up the menorah Sunday evening in Talmadge Park, for the fourth day of Hanukkah.

This community was thankful to see two of its own – Judith and Natalie Raanan – released after they were held hostage by Hamas. They hope their ceremony they hope shines more light on getting more hostages freed.

Dozens of community members, along with Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss, were on hand for the festivities Sunday, showing solidarity with Israel in the ongoing war with Hamas, and praying for the release of more hostages.

Rabbi Meir Hecht urged those who gathered to not let the dark events happening in the Middle East to keep them from celebrating the Festival of Lights.

"It was an incredible celebration. It was a miracle for us that we were able to celebrate the release of Judith and Natalie Raanan. We know that we need to continue our prayers. We need to continue shining our light, because there are still over 130 hostages that are being held in the hands of Hamas terrorists," Hecht said.

Says something along the lines of it being a miracle that these two local mother and daughter were released by Hamas. But now we need to focus on freeing more hostages, using our light, etc.

Hecht has been in contact with the Raanan family since Judith and Natalie were freed in October. While he did not share specific details about how the family is doing, or whether or not Judith and Natalie were back home in Evanston, he said they are both in good spirits, focusing their energy on making sure other relatives currently being held are released.

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