Chabad of Port Washington will light a public Hanukkah menorah at the Port Washington LIRR Station, followed by a community-wide celebration highlighting unity and peace on Tuesday evening, Dec. 12, the first night of the eight-day holiday.
The ceremony, organized by Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Shalom M. Paltiel, will honor Port Washington School Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Mooney with the lighting of the first flame of the menorah and will feature a musical performance by the Paul D. Schreiber High School Tri-M Musicians.
Port Washington’s Schreiber High School recently witnessed a hate crime with another swastika discovered on a school wall. This comes nearly one year after a nearly identical incident took place at the school. Looking to dispel the darkness by shining the light of goodness and kindness, this menorah will bring a positive message to the Port Washington community.
Following the menorah-lighting ceremony, which will also include the live sculpting of a five-foot ice menorah, hundreds will dance, sing and eat the night away enjoying traditional Hanukkah foods such as latkes, jelly donuts and chocolate gelt, in addition to being treated to hot coffee, compliments of Starbucks of Port Washington.
“I want my children to grow up with pride in their Jewish heritage, and a feeling of equality and self-confidence as Americans,” said Blaine Klusky, who is looking forward to attending the public menorah-lighting. “Chabad-Lubavitch’s Hanukkah menorahs are among the most important developments ever to help my children’s education and awareness. I wish they had one where I grew up.”
This year brings added significance as the world marks 50 years since the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—initiated the Mitzvah Campaigns, a historic undertaking that brought Jewish observance and celebration to the streets, laying the groundwork for public menorahs and the worldwide Hanukkah campaign that he set into motion in 1973.
“The message of Hanukkah is the message of light,” adds Rabbi Sholom Paltiel. “The nature of light is that it is always victorious over darkness. A small amount of light dispels a lot of darkness. Another act of goodness and kindness, another act of light, can make all the difference.”
Today, the unprecedented public display of Hanukkah has become a staple of Jewish cultural and religious life, forever altering the American practice and awareness of the festival. Port Washington’s menorah is one of more than 15,000 large public menorahs sponsored by Chabad in more than 100 countries and territories around the world, including in front of landmarks such as the White House, the Eiffel Tower, Trafalgar Square, the Brandenburg Gate and the Kremlin, helping children and adults of all backgrounds discover and enjoy the holiday message.
Throughout the State of New York, Chabad will be presenting scores of Hanukkah events and celebrations, including public menorah-lightings, giant menorahs made out of ice and Legos, menorah parades, latke parties, giant dreidel houses,“Chanukah Wonderlands” and more. To find a local event in New York, or practically anywhere throughout the world, visit the international Hanukkah event directory at www.ChabadPW.org/Hanukkah.
For more information about Hanukkah and a local schedule of events visit www.ChabadPW.org/Hanukkah.