WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — A cold, windy night could not stop holiday warmth on the Ellipse near the White House.

Hundreds gathered for the annual lighting of the Hanukkah Menorah, on the first night of the tradition.

“It’s a great experience, a lot of spirit. A lot of Kavanah, which is religious spirit. An honor to be here,” said Roseanne Hurwitz.

The festive atmosphere was slightly overshadowed by recent hate messages discovered around the DMV.

Someone spray painted anti-Semitic graffiti, found Saturday, at the entrance to Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda. It’s the second such message posted in Montgomery County since November.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland spoke at Sunday night’s program. For him, these types of attacks are personal.

“As a descendant of those who fled persecution because they were Jewish, it’s especially meaningful to be here tonight as we light this menorah, in our nation’s capital, and under the protection of its laws,” Garland said.

The recent trend is causing many to reflect.

“We’ll prevail,” said Hurwitz. “We’ve got to show our strength and just keep going.”

It’s not just Jewish people who are angry about the recent wave of anti-Semitism.

“It’s a shame people can be so evil,” said Dena Waskiewicz. “I attended the Holocaust Museum a couple of days ago, and it’s absolutely unbelievable that people can be that way towards another just because of their beliefs being different from theirs’.”

Hanukkah runs for eight nights.