Swastikas were found in Darien schools. So this dad set up a community menorah lighting for Hanukkah.

DARIEN — For what might be the first time in the town’s history, Darien will have a public, community-wide menorah lighting to celebrate Hanukkah.

More than a dozen Jewish families in Darien will light a 6-foot-tall menorah in Grove Street Plaza over the eight nights of the holiday. Darien residents are invited to attend any of the lightings from Nov. 28 to Dec. 6 and a larger celebration on Dec. 1, said event creator Dan Guller.

Guller has lived in Darien for 12 years and said he was inspired to organize the event earlier this year. After recent incidents of anti-Semitism, with multiple swastikas graffitied in Darien’s schools and anti-Semitic comments posted to social media in the past few months, Guller said he began to see the personal importance of events like this one — his now-3-year-old son will eventually be educated in Darien schools.

And, Guller said, he wanted the event to come as a timely reminder of what the town actually represents.

“I think one of the problems Darien has is a PR problem. This is no longer the town of ‘Gentleman's Agreement,’” Guller said, referencing the 1947 novel and film, largely set in Darien, that detailed the anti-Semitism of the era. “This is what it was in the past. But Darien today is far more diverse. An event like this can help highlight that.”

The event is hosted in partnership with Baywater Properties, PG Properties and Norwalk-based Temple Shalom. Baywater will provide the electric-powered menorah, Guller said. Lightings will be at 6 p.m. each night, and attendees are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys to donate to a local shelter.

Already, the event has generated an outpouring of interest from dozens of residents, both Jewish and non-Jewish, Guller said. Around 13 local Jewish families have already agreed to participate in lighting the candles.

Though similar events have been held in surrounding communities, Guller said he believes this is the first event of its kind hosted by Darien residents for their town.

As an apolitical event, Guller said he invited many local, state and federal elected officials as well as leaders of major churches in town.

Guller said he does not believe the lighting is a response to the anti-Semitic incidents of the past few months. But it is an antidote, he said.

“I keep thinking of the Martin Luther King Jr. quote, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only the light can do that,’” Guller said. “And it occurred to me that that's exactly what this is. That's what a menorah is. It's the light driving out the darkness, both literally and figuratively.”

raga.justin@hearst.com