The weather forecast for the second night of Chanukah in Monroe was raining chocolate gelt.
In addition to more thanr 2,100 chocolate coins raining down, there were also menorahs and dreidels parachuting from the sky.
Chabad of Orange County, headed by Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston, sponsored this event that was held at the Commuter Parking Lot on Millpond Parkway in the center of Monroe.
The Monroe Joint Fire District helped create this Chanukah “miracle” by having the gelt drop from the extended ladder of a fire truck.
To add to the excitement there were “Golden Gelt Winners:” Among the thousands of silver chocolate coins, 8 golden chocolate coins were mixed in. Each golden coin was redeemed for a Chanukah gift! Prior to the Gelt Drop was a community menorah lighting. The “Shamash” candle, the one that serves the menorah candles, was lit by elected “shamashim,” local officials who serve the community.
They included Town of Monroe Supervisor Tony Cardone and Village of Monroe Trustee Dorey Houle. The Menorah candles were lit by Mitchell Wenzel originally from Monroe and Al Muhlrad of Goshen.
Following the lighting, State Senator James Skoufis presented the New York State Senate 2021 Empire Award to CTeen (Chabad Teens) of Orange County, in recognition of their community service. “The teens’ community service creates light and warmth in the community, just like the Menorah,” Rabbi Pesach explained.
Following the Gelt Drop celebrants enjoyed each other’s company over hot latkes, hot chocolate, doughnuts. Chabad also gave out unique deridel glasses, which makes light look like dancing dreidels. Many expressed their delight in being able to celebrate together in person, when the pandemic did not allow it to happen last year. The event was made possible thanks to the Monroe Fire and Police Departments.
On the third night of Chanukah, people from all over the county gathered together to celebrate at Chabad’s Grand Chanukah Celebration & Donut Menorah at Colonial Lanes in Chester. The celebration started with the menorah lighting of a giant eight-foot Donut Menorah. (Doughnuts, like latkes, are traditional fried foods eaten on Chanukah in commemoration of the miracle of the oil in the Chanukah story). The festive celebration also included buffet dinner, latkes, bowling, dreidel games and a show by Joshua J. Superstar.
Chabad also hosted a Tuxedo Menorah Lighting on the fourth night of Chanukah, a Mommy & Me Chanukah party for preschoolers on the fifth day of Chanukah, and a CTeen Chanukah on the eight night of Chanukah.
Chabad of Orange County offers Jewish education, outreach and social service programming for families and individuals of all ages, backgrounds and affiliations. For more information, contact Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston, directors, at 845-782-2770, rabbi@ChabadOrange.com or visit www.ChabadOrange.com.