Public Advocate Jumaane joins in the revelry after lighting the world’s largest menorah on Nov. 29.
Williams helps light world’s largest
menorah with message of unity
BY DEAN MOSES
The second night of Hanukkah was
celebrated Nov. 29 with the lighting
of the world’s largest menorah and
a special message of unity from the public
The whopping 36-foot tall holiday
structure is a Guinness Book of World
Records-breaking nine-branched candelabrum
currently erected within Manhattan’s
Grand Army Plaza, just adjacent to Central
Park on 59th Street and 5th Avenue.
On Nov. 30 the iconic symbol of the
PHOTOS BY DEAN MOSES
Jewish holiday drew dozens of bundled-up
New Yorkers to witness the ceremonial
lighting. Excitedly awaiting the big moment,
the crowd lifted their phones in order
to capture the religious experience while
others simply rubbed their hands together
in an effort to stay warm.
“Today there are 15,000 Menorahs like
this all over the world, 15,000 public Menorahs
all over the world and they have lit
up the skies with the light of Hanukkah,”
Rabbi Shmuel Butman told the crowd from
high above them inside a cherry picker.
Joining the rabbi, albeit somewhat
cautious of the height, Public Advocate
Jumaane Williams used a blow touch to
commence the ceremony by igniting the
Shamash, the centermost candle. Onlookers
gave the elected offi cial a round of
applause before dancing to transnational
Last year, the organization was forced
to be celebrated through social distancing
due to COVID-19, but with vaccines now
widely available, attendees felt more comfortable
to take one another by the arms
and letting loose with the Hora dance.
While the affair was important to Public
Advocate Williams due to its religious signifi
cance, he also hoped he could highlight
the issue of anti-Semitism that still plagues
“At this time, in particular, there is a
rise in hate crimes, including the rise in
Semitism. It’s always important, even more
important, to come out and celebrate as
the second highest ranking, elected offi cial
city,” Williams told amNewYork Metro. “I
am hoping we get to a point where we don’t
have to keep pushing this message of unity.
Sadly we do. I’m hoping at some point it
just sinks in. How much more similar we
are far outweighs the minor differences.
But you know this time of year is a great
time we had so many people celebrating so
many different things. Hopefully they can
help our community at a time or we seem
to be drifting apart.”
Williams then joined the dance himself,
waving and circling in the Menorah’s
Spectators were in awe of the enormous menorah. Attendees smiled and waved in excitement.
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