After two years of COVID-induced isolation, community Chanukah events are back in full force. Chabad centers throughout the area are putting finishing touches to planned celebrations. Rabbi Shmuel Konikov, Chabad Englewood, said this year it is especially important to come together.
“In temple times after the shmita year, it is the Hakhel year when the community would come together and celebrate. This is a Hakhel year and a great opportunity to gather our community together to celebrate Chanukah.”
Rabbi Konikov is involved in three events that each offer something different. On the first night of Chanukah, there will be a menorah lighting in downtown Englewood at City Hall with the Moriah and BPY school choirs singing along with city officials. There will be a glow-in-the-dark LED menorah, a chocolate gelt drop by the fire department from their very tall ladder and parachuting dreidels. Of course there will be latkes, doughnuts and entertainment.
Monday night, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Chabad, in association with the shuls of Englewood, will hold a Chanukah ice skating party at the McKay Ice Arena. There will be open skating, latkes and doughnuts and an ice menorah that will be carved on site. Who will light it? Still to be determined. Skates are available for rental but Rabbi Konikov emphasized that skaters should bring their own helmets. “There will be Jewish music. It will be festive and lively.” Cost is $10 per skater.
Teens in eighth grade and above—get ready to be wowed by L’Chaim OG, a Jewish, African-American rapper who fuses contemporary style with timeless Torah concepts. Zecharya Yishai Levine, born Zachariah Ysaye Oluwabankole Babington-Johnson, grew up in a religious Christian family in Minnesota. His life-changing journey took him from a football scholarship to Israel where he studied in Ohr Somayach and finished his conversion in B’nei Brak. The Chabad centers of Bergen County are combining resources for this dynamic event, which begins at 7 p.m. and includes a dinner buffet. Final location has not been confirmed but will be somewhere in Englewood. Check for updates.
“This Hakhel year, year of gathering, it is important for us to come out in full force and give encouragement and inspiration to the community,” said Rabbi Konikov. “Let’s celebrate the Jewish Experience together.”
For more information, email [email protected].