Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams celebrated the Festival of Lights in a big, bright way near Borough Hall by lighting a 25-foot menorah in Columbus Park on Wednesday, December 17.
“It was a true honor to take part in this beautiful holiday tradition with Brooklyn’s Jewish community,” said Adams. “Sharing in each other’s sacred rites is a wonderful way to expand cross-cultural appreciation, and it builds the bonds that make One Brooklyn strong year-round.”
Adams was joined by Rabbi Aaron Raskin when he ignited the lanterns with a propane torch to kick off the second night of Hanukkah. Adams also danced the hora—a traditional Jewish circle dance—with local residents in the park after the ceremony and was there two nights earlier, on Monday, December 15 for a pre-Hanukkah celebration inside Brooklyn Borough Hall.
The evening recognized eight local luminaries, according to the Borough President’s office, who span a diverse cross-section of Jewish life in Brooklyn: Aron Y. Kohn and Chaim Fleischer of Chaverim of Brooklyn, Alex Budnitsky of the JCH of Bensonhurst, Douglas H. Jablon of Maimonides Medical Center, Yecheskel S. Kauftheil of Mekimi, Rabbi Dr. Alvin Kass of the NYPD Shomrim Society, David Brecher and Jack Jaffa of OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services, Joseph J. Sitt and Betty Cohen of the Sephardic Community Foundation and Anna Bronfman of the Shorefront YM-YWHA.
The pre-Hanukkah celebration was sponsored by the Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative, Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition, Jewish Community Relations Council, New York Board of Rabbis, Sephardic Community Federation and UJA Federation of New York.
“Hanukkah is a holiday that reminds us of the determination of the human spirit and how ordinary people can do extraordinary things,” added Adams.