The Jewish community spread cheer and gratitude – along with a live concert - in a festive ‘Honk for Heroes” car parade last week to honor health care workers, first responders and seniors.
Dozens of cars participated in this unity and community event organized by Chabad of Orange County, led by Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston. The parade, celebrating the Jewish holiday of Lag Baomer, incorporated three themes and stops: Cookies for Cops in Chester, Simcha for Seniors in Goshen and Chocolates for Caregivers in Middletown.
“The community love and support was palpable,” said Dr. Ira Kanis, Chabad’s Gabbai, who helped arrange the event.
Cookies for cops
The parade began at Chabad’s Center in Chester. Participants decked their cars with signs of thanks. Each vehicle received a “parade bag" full of treats, bubbles and pom poms for cheering from Chabad.
A presentation of "Cookies for Cops" was made by Chabad to the Orange County Sheriff's Department, thanking County Executive Steve Neuhaus and the Sheriff Department for all they do for the community.
Simcha for Seniors
Led by a Sheriff's car, the parade headed to W Senior Living in Goshen to bring “simcha” (joy) to the residents and staff. Residents watched and clapped from their windows to a live concert by Duvy Burston, eldest son of the Burstons. Chabad presented the staff and residents with packaged baked goods.
Beautiful art pieces on canvas also were given to residents to lift their spirits. Aiden Axler, 14, of Highland Mills, worked on several art pieces together with his grandmother, Bonnie McCarthy. Art was also contributed by Hannah Drillings, 17, of Chester, Ruby Eberly, 10, of Monroe and Sam and Alex Silverman, ages 12 and 11, of Tuxedo.
“Chabad usually brings holiday cheer to the residents here,” Rabbi Pesach told the residents. “But given the restrictions of the pandemic, we still wanted to show you that we are thinking of you and are here for you.”
Chocolates for caregivers
The parade continued to Orange Regional Medical Center in the Town of Wallkill. Working with Gabriel Morrow of the Pastoral Care Office and Ann Diagostino, director of Patient Services, the parade was greeted by a large group of healthcare workers.
Chabad expressed the community’s thanks by presenting “Chocolates for Caregivers:” hundreds of chocolate bars, goodies and snacks to the staff. Sherri Eccelston, owner and operator of Sherri’s Heirloom Soaps, also presented the staff with hand-made soaps and hand sanitizer she had made.
Chabad Board member Stacey Finkelstein of Middletown, who recovered from Covid-19 at Orange Regional last month, thanked the staff.
"I'm alive because of all of you - I'm standing here because of all of you,” Finkelstein said. “You took care of me and that shows your hard work and dedication."
The Honk for Heroes Parade was made possible thanks to the Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus, the Orange County Sheriff's Department, the community participants as well as the following sponsors and volunteers: Duvy Burston, Crowe Family, Duso Foods and Sandy Richmond, Eberly Family, Sherri Eccelston, Brigitte Glasser, Betty Grossman, Marty and Esther Ingber, Kalkstein Family, Ira and Karen Kanis, Sheryl Kerewski, Steve and Anita Reich and the Rimler Family.
To learn more about Chabad community programs, visit www.ChabadOrange.com, call 845-782-2770 or write firstname.lastname@example.org