Menorah Illumination Celebrates 10 Years of Chabad in Forest Hills North

Menorah Illumination Celebrates 10 Years of Chabad in Forest Hills North

The annual illumination of the 18-foot menorah in Queens’ Yellowstone Municipal Park marked a double celebration this 12 months: the tenth anniversary of Chanukah and Forest Hills North Chabad, led by Rabbi Mendy and Rebbetzin Chaya Hecht.

By Michael Perlman – Queens Ledger

“Chanukah within the Park” and its symbolic 18-metre menorah proceed to shine brighter every year.

An event-filled ceremony positioned in entrance of Yellowstone Municipal Park continues to evolve each logistically and spiritually.

This Forest Hills custom emerged in 2015 and was based by Rabbi Mendy Hecht and Rebbetzin Chaya Hecht of Forest Hills North Chabad, who additionally serve the bigger group.

On the primary of eight nights of Hanukkah on December 18, from 4:15 p.m. to six:30 p.m., greater than 500 visitors had been able to embrace the miracles of Hanukkah.

Moreover, residents of Yellowstone Avenue flats loved an aerial view from their home windows.

“What a fantastic sight,” Hecht mentioned. “We all the time had crowds of individuals as we had an extended occasion this 12 months with extra enjoyable.”

Each evening after that, a Hanukkah menorah lighting was organized on a smaller scale.

This previous September marked one other miracle; tenth anniversary of Chabad of Forest Hills North.

The ambiance felt conventional but progressive. The assorted line-up of the eighth annual Chanukah pageant featured a number of notable occasions, such because the FDNY Ladder 138 Menorah Lighting and the Chabad of Forest Hills North innovation, the Chanukah Gelt (chocolate coin) falling from a cherry picker greater than 9 ft excessive. .

The menorah was lit with a torch, starting with the central candle “Shamash” used to gentle different candles. Lighting a candle is an emblem of unity.

Chabad boys dressed as Dreidel mascots, clowns, and Maccabees choreographed it among the many multi-generational crowd.

Hecht gave a heartfelt daring speech. “The sunshine of the Menorah is not only for us or our households, however for the folks round us simply because the home windows of the Holy Temple convey gentle outward.”

He cited and tailored a exceptional quote from John F. Kennedy’s keynote speech: “Do not say what my nation can do for me, say what I can do for my nation. Unfold the sunshine on others.”

In a manufacturing that includes conventional and authentic Hanukkah tunes and Israeli songs, the ambiance is enhanced with a newly created stage.

Among the many performers had been keyboardist and singer Michel Krohn and a shock visitor, Israeli singer Itzik Weingarten.

Memorable Hanukkah tunes embody “Al Hanisim”, “Candlelight”, “Gentle Up The Nights”, “Ma’oz Tzur” and “I Have A Little Dreidel”.

Chabad of Forest Hills North’s efficiency of CKids of The Arts, made up of the kids of the Hebrew Faculty, made its debut. Their present stopper mentioned, “I will be a neis. I can be a vibrant gentle. I can be a miracle of sunshine.”

The Illusionist and Duo Fireplace Present was additionally a watch opener, and ooh and ahh voices rose from the group. Company recalled earlier profitable sequence that includes DJs, a ventriloquist puppet present and a magic present. Among the many highlights of final 12 months was a BMX bike present that spanned the complete block.

Reflecting on the success of the pageant, Hecht mentioned, “We had been honored to welcome District President Donovan Richards. His sturdy help for the Jewish group, Israel and Jewish values ​​was conveyed. He mentioned he did not communicate phrases, he took motion and he’ll proceed to struggle in opposition to anti-Semitism. This was heard loud and clear, echoing from the rostrum. Different elected officers have additionally expressed their help for the Jewish group.”

Hanukkah has an essential message that everybody, no matter faith or tradition, ought to perceive and have compassion on. Hecht mentioned, “Unfold goodness and goodness. Bow gentle. A little bit gentle drives the darkness away. No matter our faith, all of us want this lesson and just a little gentle on this darkish world.”

Chanukah acts as a mannequin for all openings, together with crucial one, schooling.

“The Lubavitcher Rebbe has usually emphasised the distinctive connection between Chanukah and schooling. As will be seen in lots of traditions, together with the giving of Hanukkah gel, it’s a particular time that encourages youngsters to attach with their heritage,” he continued. Chanukah can also be a time of steady non secular development.

One other miracle is that rabbis and rebbetzins, native residents, visitor audio system, FDNY, 112.

Annually the occasion is famous down intimately so the following 12 months will be greater and extra correct. So much goes on behind the scenes to make sure the success of the pageant, as Hecht explains, who says it isn’t a “1-2-3 job”.

“Eight years from now, we are able to undoubtedly say that subsequent 12 months can be higher than earlier than. Each element has been scrutinized and there’s a lot of labor devoted to it over the course of a number of weeks.”

“Even ordering greater than 600 donuts is not any straightforward job. Subsequent, make sure that the NYPD is correctly briefed on the main points and setup of the leisure crew, the schedule, and the graceful operating of the occasion. The FDNY additionally has its personal timeframe. The mere 18-metre menorah is a enterprise in itself, and it seems to be actually stunning ‘within the park’ then.”

Whilst a spiritual chief, occasions together with Chanukah within the Park for Hecht is a steady studying course of.

“I realized that it is by no means sufficient and I’ve lighter and extra Jewish leisure to convey to the lots. Society is thirsty and I’ve a accountability too,” he mentioned.

Within the Park, he thanks G‑d for Chanukah’s miraculous eight-year success.

“Everyone seems to be trying ahead to this annual occasion, so at such a milestone we mentioned we have to step it up,” he mentioned.

That is additionally a time of extra divinity, as within the eight lights on the menorah related to the “Hakhel Assembly.” “Within the Holy Temple, within the eighth 12 months all Jews would collect to take heed to the king’s recitation of the Torah and study to concern G‑d and obey his legal guidelines. Rebbe OBM wished us to do it and create nice gatherings simply as our ancestors did that 12 months.”

The pageant is one other success that demonstrates how Chabad of Forest Hills North is a beacon of sunshine in the neighborhood, persevering with to unfold the message behind the Hanukkah gentle all year long.

“We’re right here for the group in good and unlucky instances, however we solely hope we will be there in good instances,” Hecht mentioned. “We can be supportive in some ways, both by showing spiritually or bodily with a package deal of care at a rehabilitation middle, or by doing a easy mitzvah (favor) in different methods.”

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