Ex-captive Danny Fenster's first homecoming event is tonight at Detroit menorah lighting

November 28, 2021, 8:31 AM

This is republished from Nov. 23.

Danny Fenster at Sunday's menorah lighting.

Danny Fenster, the Metro Detroit journalist freed nearly two weeks ago after more than five months in a Southeast Asian prison, plans to be on a Campus Martius platform downtown Sunday evening. He'll be honored by a Jewish organziation from West Bloomfield that conducts a yearly "Menorah in the D" ceremony, starting at 5:30 p.m., on the frst night of Chanukah.

Fenster, 37, is scheduled to flip a switch illuminating a 26-foot-tall glass and steel menorah -- an electric candelabra marking his religion's "Festival of Lights," an eight-day commemoration of the liberation of the Temple in Jerusalem in ancient times.

His participation, first reported by The Detroit News, will come 13 days after leaving Myanmar, 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.

Fenster hasn't made a formal public appearance beyond a New York airport press conference. Deadline Detroit editor Allan Lengel spoke with him at length a few days ago in this video.

The 11th annual menorah ceremony, three days after an especially meaningful Thanksgiving meal, is an apt occasion for the ex-captive. His holiday month return can be seen as a blessing or miracle, in a sense -- just as the Hanukkah celebration marks the legend of a jug of lamp oil that lasted for eight days instead of just one.

"So apropos! The Festival of Lights to shed light on the darkness in the world," says a social media comment by Nancy Smith, a friend of the journalist's Huntington Woods parents.

Sunday's 5:30 p.m. free event can be attended in person (RSVP required) or watched on livestream. It's organized by Chabad Lubavich of Michigan in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. 

(Graphic: Chabad Lubavich of Michigan)

Read more:  The Detroit News

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