The community of Port Washington, together with local dignitaries, joined Rabbi Paltiel of Chabad of Port Washington in the annual lighting of the Grand Menorah at the PW LIRR for the first night of Hanukkah.
A crowd in excess of 500 assembled to watch as Rabbi Paltiel and guest of honor Dr. Kathleen Mooney, Port Washington Schools superintendent, lit the shamash, the service candle from which the other candles are lit. Senator Elaine Phillips, Police Chief James Salerno, Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio, PWPD Commissioners Angela Mullins, Dave Franklin and Tom Rice, Assemblyman Tony D’Urso, Town Clerk Wayne Wink and Village of Baxter Estates Mayor Hagenson were among the leaders joining the festivities.
Mooney spoke briefly about the importance of diversity, tolerance and inclusion, all part of Chabad’s Hanukkah “Share the Light of Faith & Love” theme. Rabbi Paltiel’s message of faith focused on light overcoming darkness and unity over hate, which is apropos in light of the recent act of hatred at the high school, where a swastika was found scribbled onto a bathroom wall. A similar incident took place a year ago at this time of year.
There was a slight hiccup in the proceedings when the lift used to light the menorah initially failed to operate. Rabbi Paltiel, along with PWPD Assistant Chief of Police Jeffrey Morris and a trio of very helpful fire fighters, helped to maneuver the lift into the correct position. It all worked out well in the end, and as many of the assembled proclaimed: it was indeed another “Hanukkah miracle.”
The Schreiber High School Tri M musicians performed several popular festive Hanukkah songs and Chabad PW is very grateful to the performers and to PW Schools Orchestra Director Carol Garofalo for arranging this.
New for this year was a live ice carving of a 5-foot tall menorah. This was a big hit with the crowd and the finished menorah was actually lit.
Chabad of Port Washington would like to acknowledge and thank the following organizations in making this event a success: Everfresh Supermarket of Great Neck, Town of North Hempstead, Port Washington Fire Department, Port Washington Police Department and Chief Jim Salerno, Starbucks, Able Equipment Rental, EmbroidMe, Rob Salzbank of Rampage Studios, Port Washington News, PW Times and Maura Bros.
The menorah lighting was one of thousands organized by Chabad attended by more than three million people in 100 plus countries around the world celebrating the festival of Hanukkah.
This Port Washington menorah lighting event is considered one of the largest ones on Long Island and received widespread media coverage by several news outlets.