Danny Fenster, Bill Richardson and Menorah in the D.
Former U..S Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson, right, poses with journalist Danny Fenster in Naypyitaw, Myanmar (left). Menorah in the D from 2020 (right). (The Richardson Center/Menorah in the D via Instagram)

Before Fenster was freed, the 37-year-old spent more than 5 months in a Myanmar prison after a military coup.

Huntington Woods native and American journalist Danny Fenster will help mark the first night of Chanukah by lighting the massive 26-foot menorah at this year’s Menorah in the D at Campus Martius in downtown Detroit.

Before he was freed, the 37-year-old spent more than 5 months in a Myanmar prison, where he had been sentenced to 11 years in prison by a military government that seized power this year. He was abruptly pardoned and handed over to former U.S. diplomat Bill Richardson on Nov. 16.

“We are so honored to welcome home Danny and to have him as a dignitary to light the large Menorah Sunday evening at Campus Martius,” said Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov, vice president of Chabad Lubavitch of Michigan. “We are going forward to bring everyone together again as we light the Menorah in downtown Detroit.”

The 11th Annual Menorah in the D takes place on Sunday, Nov. 28 at 5 p.m. This year’s event will be hybrid, having both a live and livestream component. The in-person event begins at 5 p.m. and the livestream begins at 5:30, airing on the Chabad Lubavitch of Michigan Facebook and website.

The annual event usually sees thousands of people gather in Downtown Detroit for the festivities and is put on in partnership with the Federation, The Shul and Chabad in the D, among others.

A big hit from last year were the at-home lamplighter kit, which includes Chanukah guide, candles, special lighter, treats, crafts, gelt, postcards and a menorah. These kits can be reserved now for pickup closer to the event at menorahinthed.com.

As in years past, the Menorah in the D will feature a family-friendly celebration that’s free and open to the public, featuring:

  • Strolling street performers, face painting and balloon sculpting
  • Marshmallow roasting pits and Hot Soup & Cider
  • Glow in the dark giveaways, mitzvah station and more!

“Whether you’re live or online, this has become an event where the entire Jewish community comes together and celebrates our spirit and message of Judaism in a very special and unique way,” Shemtov added. “We will continue to bring everyone together whether in-person or online to share in the traditions together.”

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