Chabad’s public menorah lightings this year included a special memorial for the victims of the Jersey City attack, and for all victims of terror.
Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston welcomed a crowd of more than 200 who gathered to usher in the first night of Hanukkah at the firetruck gelt drop and menorah lighting in Monroe.
Following the menorah lighting, lit by Monroe Town Supervisor Tony Cardone, Village of Monroe Mayor Neil Dwyer and Chabad Board Member Stacey Finkelstein, Rabbi Pesach 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.
Following the ceremony, children and adults too witnessed a Hanukkah “miracle” performed by the Monroe Joint Fire Department. Thousands of gelt (chocolate coins) rained down from atop a firetruck. Menorah and dreidel parachutes were also launched. Among the silver coins, eight golden coins were mixed in, to be exchanged for winning packages. The gifts were distributed by the elected officials. The event also featured latkes, hot cocoa and donuts.
'Can-orah' in Chester
On the second night of Hanukkah, Chabad hosted a "Can-orah" celebration at Colonial Lanes in Chester. Participants brought donations of kosher canned foods, which were then arranged into the shape of a menorah with candles on top and 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 around 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.”
Hanukkah cheer brought to Goshen seniors
Chabad volunteers brought Hanukkah cheer to residents at W Senior Living in Goshen. Residents enjoyed singing festive songs with Isabel Laufer of Monroe playing violin and Chana Burston playing piano. Jamie Reich of Highland Mills and Chana Burston read "The Giant Chanukah Book," children created beautiful holiday cards for each resident, and all enjoyed fresh donuts, chocolate gelt, and dreidels. Steve Reich, assisted by the children, led the menorah lighting, and Anita Reich explained the meaning of the blessings.
“It’s so important for children to learn that the holidays not not just about receiving, but giving,” said Anita Reich of Harriman, who volunteered with some of her grandchildren. “One of the greatest gifts of being a grandparent is being able to share mitzvot with your grandchildren!”