Personal Chanuka Miracle Celebrated at Detroit Menorah Lighting

Jewish journalist Danny Fenster, who was recently freed after spending nearly six months in jail in military-ruled Myanmar was honored at the Menorah Lighting in downtown Detroit on the first night of Chanuka.

Photos: Tih Penfil and James Feldman Photography

A Jewish journalist who was recently freed after spending nearly six months in jail in military-ruled Myanmar helped light the menorah during a celebration in downtown Detroit for the first night of Chanuka.

Danny Fenster, 37, joined elected and community leaders Sunday night for the “Menorah in the D” public Chanuka party. Fenster was honored as one of the people who would carry the candle to the menorah in order to kindle it for the crowd of thousands.

The 37-year-old was among dozens of local journalists detained after a coup by the Myanmar military Junta in February. The editor for the online publication Frontier Myanmar, Fenster was charged with encouraging dissent against the military. He was also set to stand trial on additional charges of sedition and terrorism – charges that carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. Fenster was unexpectedly freed last week.

“We were following the case closely and praying for Danny,” Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov said. “Danny experienced his own Chanuka miracle, and the Detroit community is overjoyed to welcome his home.”

Fenster told that he was honored and touched to find the community had been praying for his safe release and return home to Detroit.

“I can’t imagine a better community to come home to,” Fenster said during a reception prior to Sunday’s menorah lighting. “And it’s just made an already great, joyful situation even more joyful. Just had a lot of love and appreciation back home here in Detroit and metro Detroit, in the Jewish community and the wider community. It’s just been incredible.”

“It wasn’t a theme I thought about before the timing of my release and the timing of this event, but I think there’s that obvious connection with bringing light to darkness in journalism,” Fenster said. “The things that I was arrested for, being part of the news organization that’s trying to shed light on a very dark regime, seems obviously resonant to me.”

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