For the third consecutive year, Philips Arena was the site of one of Atlanta’s largest Chanukah celebrations.

Candles burned brightly before the Atlanta Hawks played the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night, Dec. 12, with hundreds of Jewish fans in attendance. It was the team’s only home game during Chanukah.

Rabbi Yossi New addresses the crowd at Philips Arena before the menorah lighting on the seventh night of Chanukah.

Rabbi Yossi New addresses the crowd at Philips Arena before the menorah lighting on the seventh night of Chanukah.

“Who would have thought that inside the Hawks stadium we would be lighting a menorah?” said Rabbi Levi Mentz of Chabad of Georgia. “Sharing light, positivity and good will, especially on Chanukah, is inspiring. We want to give a huge thanks to the Hawks organization and everyone involved for making this evening so amazing.”

Joining Rabbi Mentz for the pregame festivities were Chabad Rabbis Yossi New and Isser New and representatives of the Hawks. Jewish hip-hop artist Prodezra Beats entertained the crowd with two songs from his EP “Proud to Be.”

Fans who bought early tickets for Jewish Heritage Night through Chabad were allowed on the court for warmups and created the tunnel that Hawks players ran though during player introductions.

The Hawks won their past two Chanukah Jewish Heritage Night matchups over the Los Angeles Clippers, but they were crushed by the Spurs, 103-78.

A Chanukah Tradition

Before Saturday’s game, the Hawks had traditionally fared well on Jewish Heritage Night at Philips Arena.

Dec 12 2015 – Hawks lost to Spurs 78-103 (L)
Dec 23 2014 – Hawks defeated Clippers 107-104 (W)
Dec 11 2013 – Hawks defeated Clippers 107-97 (W)

Photos by David R. Cohen