BY BEN BRACHFELD
It’s a beloved holiday tradition!
Jewish residents from
around the Five Boroughs
gathered on Sunday to kick
off Hanukkah, which marked
the second time the holiday
fell during the COVID-19 pandemic
— though this year’s
festivities took a far more jubilant
tone, with revelers cautiously
welcoming back a return
“I’m proud to be here and
participate in this moment
as we bring our city back together,”
said Borough President
Eric Adams at a Manhattan
ceremony. “We need each
other, and no matter how challenging
it is, we know New
Yorkers are resilient, strong,
and we’re people of faith. And
I say to all of you and your
family, have a happy and safe
Adams, the mayor-elect,
also paid tribute to the iconic
Chabad Lubavitcher Rebbe
Menachem Mendel Schneerson,
COURIER L 10 IFE, DECEMBER 3-9, 2021
the New York-based religious
leader who encouraged
an urban tradition of lighting
huge menorahs during Hanukkah
“He spread the importance
of Hanukkah,” the Beep said.
Although Manhattan lays
claim to the world’s tallest, the
borough of Kings had no shortage
of giant menorah lightings
The largest ceremony
in Brooklyn came at Grand
Army Plaza, where the menorah
is actually the same height
as the Central Park menorah,
but in 2016 was offi cially designated
as the little brother by
a Chabad rabbinical court after
decades of rivalry between
the two arrays over the title of
World’s Largest Menorah.
Both are 32 feet tall, the
tallest permissible under
Halakha (Jewish law). The
Central Park menorah is
The 27-foot menorah on Neptune Avenue in Coney Island on the fi rst night of Hanukkah. Photo by Arthur De Gaeta
erected by Chabad of Crown
Heights, while Chabad of Park
Slope puts up the Grand Army
There was no sign of a simmering
rivalry fi ve years on as
the candles were lit all across
Brooklyn; participants bonded
over latkes, sufganiyot, music,
and dancing as the Festival of
Lights got underway.
At Borough Hall, Councilmember
elect Lincoln Restler
lit up the huge menorah
erected at Cadman Plaza.
“May the Festival of Lights
shine bright on us all and may
our collective perseverance
help us care for the most vulnerable
during these challenging
times and always,” the pol
wrote on Twitter. “Happy Hanukkah!”
Chabad’s Coney Island outpost,
the Warbasse Jewish
Heritage Congregation, put up
a 27-foot menorah on Neptune
Ave, at a ceremony presided
over by Rabbi David Okunov.
“This giant menorah will
serve as testimony that the
future of Judaism in South
Brooklyn will be BRIGHT,”
Kagan similarly said that
the menorah represented the
neighborhood’s unity even
as the pandemic continues to
“Over all of these months
of the pandemic, every day is
a struggle,” Kagan said. “But
everybody is really helping
each other. This is a great
neighborhood, you’re helping
each other, we’re all in this together.
Brooklynites gather to light
borough’s biggest menorahs
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