Monday, January 24, 2022

The lights of the menorah will be on public view during Chanukah 2021 hosted by local Chabad centers with entertainment, refreshments and most importantly, plenty of simcha. CDC guidelines have loosened COVID restrictions, allowing public festivities to return—a Chanukah miracle in itself.

The Chabad Center of Greater Englewood is holding its menorah lighting ceremony on Monday, November 29 at City Hall, 2-10 North Van Brunt Street, Englewood, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Mayor Michael Wildes and other dignitaries will be there, along with members of the fire and police departments. A giant Lego menorah will be lit and the Moriah School of Englewood choir will perform. There will be a “Gelt Drop,” with chocolate coins thrown to children from an extended ladder, and hot latkes and doughnuts for all.

Rabbi Shmuel Konikov said this year more than ever, it’s important for people to come out and show their Jewish pride. “There has been a rise in antisemitism, making people feel that they have to hide. It is important to express your pride in being Jewish. When we respect ourselves, and we’re proud of who we are, the rest of the world is proud of us as well.” He noted that Chabad’s message is to add light into the world. “Be those beacons of light, a guide to many who are feeling confused, and give comfort and assurance that ‘am Yisrael chai,’ we will continue.”

The Friends of Lubavitch of Bergen County in Teaneck are hosting two Chanukah celebrations— Sunday night, November 28 at 4:30 p.m. in front of the Bogota town hall; and the second night, Monday, November 29 at 5:30 p.m. on the Teaneck municipal green.

Rabbi Ephraim Simon said the celebration in Bogota will include a carnival with rides and games, plus latkes and doughnuts. The celebration in Teaneck will include a stunning laser light show. “The idea of Chanukah is to publicize the miracle. Menorah lighting outdoors in front of city hall is an even greater statement. We wanted to make a big event to make up for the Zoom lighting last year: something for families and children that everybody can enjoy.”

Lubavitch on the Palisades in Tenafly will have their annual Family Chanukah Festival on Sunday, November 28 in Huyler Park from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. There will be a menorah contest, an appearance by “The Monkey Rabbi,” and hot chocolate, doughnuts, chocolate coins and dreidels for all. Additional menorah lighting celebrations will be held at 7 p.m. in Demarest on Tuesday, November 30 at the Duck Pond Gazebo; in Cresskill on Wednesday, December 1 in front of the library; and in Englewood Cliffs on Sunday, December 5 at the Joseph C. Parisi Sr. Memorial Park.

Chabad of Hackensack is having a car menorah parade leaving the Chabad House at 280 Summit Avenue on Sunday November 28 at 5 p.m., with a menorah lighting in front of the Bergen County courthouse at 5:30 p.m. Rabbi Mendy Kaminker said the theme of the lighting is “Thanksgiving” and it will feature “personal stories of amazing miracles.”

Chabad of West Orange is holding a menorah lighting ceremony at the West Orange Town Hall with Mayor Robert Parisi on Monday November 29 at 4:30 p.m. and in neighboring Roseland in front of the Borough Hall with Mayor James Spango at 6 p.m.

Along with the lighting ceremonies, there will be gifts for children, refreshments and music with local musician Paul Langer. Town historian Joe Fagan will once again livestream the event.

Shabbos Chanukah is especially festive for Chabad of West Orange as the anniversary of the move to their new building six years ago. Rabbi Mendy Kasowitz said this year they are having a shabbaton with a reservation-only Shabbos dinner and a Motzei Shabbos kumzitz with Havdalah and menorah lighting, open to all.

“Our anniversary has become an extra simcha on top of the already special occasion of Shabbos Chanukah,” said Rabbi Kasowitz. “We’re spicing it up with entertainers who can lead Friday night’s celebration with singing and dinner and good energy Shabbos day, as well as a Motzei Shabbos Carlebach-style kumzitz with a huge Havdalah candle and menorah lighting.”

The entertainment will be provided by the Travelling Chassidim, a group of Chassidic families from Monsey, Borough Park and Lakewood whose mission is to enhance Shabbos in Jewish communities around the country. Rabbi Kasowitz said they were introduced to each other a few years ago and have become close, sharing in each other’s simchot. “They’re not just coming to play; you can hear their soul, smiles and incredible energy.”

Happy Chanukah to all!

By Bracha Schwartz


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