As in years past, Chabad of West Orange held a public menorah lighting in front of the West Orange Town Hall on the fifth night of Chanukah, yet in true 2020 fashion, this one was streamed on Facebook Live. Hosted by Rabbi Mendy Kasowitz, the event was attended by West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi, Town Historian Joseph Fagan, Town Council Member Jerry Guarino and other local dignitaries. Missing this year were the many citizens who usually come out to enjoy this annual tradition, but many of them tuned in to watch the event.
Rabbi Kasowitz began by presenting the mayor with a commemorative gift, as they celebrated not only Chanukah, but the fifth anniversary of the new Chabad of West Orange building. After Mayor Parisi lit the shamash, Rabbi Kasowitz spoke, and then lit the evening’s five candles.
The rabbi told the few assembled, and those watching, that “tonight is the first night we have more light than darkness,” referencing the five out of eight candles lit. He shared that “the message of Chanukah is that light takes away the darkness.”
When asked about the 16 supposed spellings of Chanukah, and which is correct, Rabbi Kasowitz smiled and responded, “Chet, nun, vav, kaf, hay,” acknowledging that with so many choices, “you can’t go wrong picking one.”
By Jill Kirsch