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Chabad of Westchester Celebrates Chanukah

Chabad of Westchester opened and closed Chanukah 5782 in magical style. On Sunday, November 28, Chabad of Scarsdale hosted a party outside their Scarsdale Women’s Club. The event included menorah lighting, latkes, doughnuts and an interactive basketball show by The Hoop Wizard. A food truck from Izzy’s Brooklyn Smokehouse was on-site selling some of their menu specialties. All proceeds from Izzy’s went to support The Candle Project’s Share Light, acting as “candles of light” for those in need. The Candle Project provides assistance for children impacted by illness and families fighting poverty.

Before he lit the menorah, Chabad of Scarsdale’s Rabbi Avraham Butman explained to the crowd of over 100 participants that the menorah that we light on Chanukah is in memory of the Menorah which used to exist in the Beit Hamikdash. “When the famous story happened, we couldn’t be free. We couldn’t experience the beauty and love and meaning of the endless treasure of a goldmine that Judaism is. Finally, when the Maccabees won, and the Jews won over the Greeks, we made a holiday. They had found oil for the Menorah in the temple for one day. Instead of lasting for one day, it lasted for eight days. Therefore, we light a menorah in our homes as well. … But what’s interesting is that this menorah that we have here is different from the Menorah that was in the Beit Hamikdash in many ways. I’ll just focus on one. The menorah which we light here is at night. In the Beit Hamikdash, the Menorah was lit during the day; late daytime, but specifically during the daytime as opposed to these past 2,000 years. If we light the menorah during the daytime, it doesn’t count. We have to light it specifically at night. “Why?”

Butman responded, “Because the Chanukah story showed what was always have known, even before then, that Judaism, the light of Torah, the light of Yiddishkeit, the light of mitzvot is powerful enough not only to light up the beautiful holy ante-chambers of the Temple in Jerusalem, but it’s able to light up the darkness as well. … Wherever we see darkness, whether it’s in our lives, or in the world, the Menorah, the light of Judaism, is able to light up the darkness, as well. And that’s the message of Chanukah, because as Jews, we know that when darkness is there, it’s just waiting for us to light it up.”

The holiday celebration continued on Sunday, December 5. Chabad of Westchester hosted a multi-city Chanukah car parade followed by a beachside menorah lighting and chocolate gelt drop. Preceding sunset, over thirty cars and a Chabad Mitzvah Tank, each decorated with menorahs or Chanukah flags, gathered in the parking lot of the Post Road School in White Plains. The parade kicked off in the city of White Plains and then drove through the village of Scarsdale and town of Eastchester, ending in the city of New Rochelle. The parade had police escorts from each jurisdiction leading the motorcade and holding back traffic. In their vehicles, parade participants, wearing light-up glasses and holiday headbands, were able to tune in on Channel 88.1 FM blaring Chanukah songs and ate doughnuts provided by Chabad. The more than 10 mile route, which took over 30 minutes to drive, ended in New Rochelle’s Davenport Park, as more families joined in for a menorah lighting on the shore of Long Island Sound and a Chanukah gelt drop from a hook-and-ladder truck by New Rochelle’s Fire Department.

Second-grader Lauren described, “I loved all the light-up toys and the Chanukah gelt drop, I can’t wait to show my friends all the Chanukah gelt I collected.” Lauren added, “But what was most fun was driving through all the red lights on the parade route!” Her fifth grade brother David added, “I liked the gelt drop, but mostly I like being together with my friends and celebrating Chanukah.” Another fifth grader, Esther, added, “I loved being showered by chocolate coins, but it was such a pirsumei nisa by lighting the menorah by the Long Island Sound.”

By Judy Berger

 

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