Chanukah begins just after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and they share some things in common. Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights, was established as a time of thanksgiving for the miracles that took place in the story of Chanukah.
The first of the eight nights of Chanukah begins this year after sunset pn Sunday evening ,Nov. 28.
Chabad of Orange County, headed by Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston, is providing an array of festive and unique Chanukah celebrations for all ages, regardless of background or affiliation. Highlights this year include the popular fire truck Chanukah Gelt (chocolate coins) drop at the Menorah Lighting in Monroe, the lighting of an eight-foot doughnut menorah at Colonial Lanes in Chester and the Tuxedo menorah lighting.
The Chanukah community events sponsored by Chabad are open to all. The ceremonies will include the traditional lighting of the menorah, as well as joyous singing of Chanukah songs, “dreidels,” hot latkes and other traditional Chanukah treats such as doughnuts and chocolate “gelt.” Local dignitaries will be joining and sharing words of greeting.
Fire Truck Gelt Drop and Public Menorah Lighting in Monroe
The Chanukah weather forecast for Monday, Nov. 29, in Monroe calls for raining chocolate gelt. In addition, dreidels and menorahs will be parachuting from the sky. Starting at 6 p.m., at the Commuter Parking Lot on Millpond Parkway, just across the Crane Park Island Gazebo, the Monroe Joint Fire District will help create this Chanukah “miracle” and have the gelt drop from a fire truck.
Following the Gelt Drop there will be a community menorah lighting ceremony. Chanukah refreshments, including latkes, doughnuts and hot chocolate, will be served. The event is made possible thanks to the Monroe Joint Fire District, the Monroe Police Department and the Village of Monroe. This event is free of charge. Register at www.ChabadOrange.com/Gelt
Grand Community Chanukah Celebration and Donut Menorah in Chester on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 5 p.m.
Chabad will hold its annual grand community Chanukah party at Colonial Lanes in Chester. This year, there will be the lighting (and then eating!) of a giant doughnut menorah. (Doughnuts, like latkes, are traditionally eaten on Chanukah, as they are fried in oil and commemorate the miracle of the oil). This community Chanukah party will also feature bowling, hot buffet dinner, latkes, doughnuts, dreidels, as well as an entertainer. T
The event, fun for all ages, will be at Colonial Lanes, 78 Brookside Ave, Chester. There is a nominal entrance fee. Sponsorships are available. Register at www.ChabadOrange.com/donut
Tuxedo Menorah Lighting on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 6 p.m.
Chabad will host a community Menorah Lighting and Reception at the Tuxedo Train Station, 240 Route 17. Menorah lighting will be outdoors, followed by reception inside the train station community room. Latkes, doughnuts and hot chocolate will be served. This event is free of charge. Register at www.ChabadOrange.com/Tuxedo
The menorah’s message
“The Menorah’s message is universal,” Chana Burston said. “It demonstrates light over darkness, freedom over oppression and religious freedom. A small amount of light dispels a lot of darkness. Another act of goodness and kindness, another act of light, can make all the difference.”
“Its message is also relevant,” added Rabbi Pesach. “For example, we are now experiencing a supply chain shortage. Well, so did the Jews during the story of Chanukah: They had a seven-day olive oil supply shortage. How do we respond? By celebrating with lights and latkes! That is the secret of our survival.”
For a full schedule of Chabad’s Chanukah events, and to request a free menorah, contact Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston 845-782-2770 or info@ChabadOrange.com, or log onto www.ChabadOrange.com