Chabad’s public menorah lightings this year included a special memorial for the victims of the Jersey City attack, as well as all victims of terror.
Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston welcomed a crowd of over 200 who gathered to usher in the first night of Hanukkah at the “Firetruck Gelt Drop & Menorah Lighting” in Monroe on Sunday evening.
'One of the most powerful creations of G-d'
Following the menorah lighting, lit by Monroe Town Supervisor Tony Cardone, Village of Monroe Mayor Neil Dwyer and Chabad Board member Stacey Finkelstein, Burston led a special “menorah message mediation and memorial” which not only remembered the victims of Jersey City, but also reflects on the response to the attack.
"History repeats itself," Burston said. "From Haman to Hitler, Pittsburgh to Poway, Jerusalem to Jersey City, the Jewish People and the continuity of Judaism has been attacked. The forces of darkness are ever present. Tragedy. Violence. Terrorism. Hatred. Anti-Semitic attacks.
"How have we responded? How do we dispel the darkness?
"Hanukkah’s answer: By creating light.
"Light is one of the most powerful creations of G-d. As the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson of Blessed memory would often quote, 'a little bit of light dispels a lot of darkness.'
"The menorah lights remind us," the rabbi added, "that our response is that will is stronger than fear, love is stronger than hate, light is stronger than darkness." (Read the full of Rabbi Pesach Burston's remarks on page 12.)
Following the ceremony, children (and adults!) witnessed a Hanukkah “miracle” performed by the Monroe Joint File Department: Thousands of Hanukkah Gelt (chocolate coins) rained down from atop a firetruck. In addition, menorah and dreidel parachutes were also launched. Among the silver coins, 8 golden coins were mixed in. eight lucky winners received Hanukkah packages. The gifts were distributed by the elected officials. The event also featured latkes, hot cocoa and donuts.
On the second night
On the second night of Hanukkah, Chabad hosted a "Can-orah" Community Hanukkah Celebration at Colonial Lanes in Chester. Participants brought donations of kosher canned foods. These cans were then arranged into the shape of a menorah with candles on top and was lit in a special ceremony. The cans were then donated to local families in need.
The event was attended by more than 200 people from all over Orange County. The festivities included bowling, hot buffet dinner, latkes, doughnuts, dreidel games, Hebrew School choir and musical performance by the Allegro Youth Orchestra. The evening ended with entertainment by ventriloquist/comedian “Docta Gel.”
To learn more about Chabad’s community programs and events visit www.ChabadOrange.com or contact Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston at 845-782-2770.