Congregation celebrates first night of Hanukkah

The Warbasse Jewish Heritage Congregation celebrated the first night of Hanukkah with the annual lighting of the Coney Island menorah Dec. 7.

The festivities were held on Neptune Avenue and West Fifth Street and featured music, chocolate gelt, doughnuts, hot drinks, and gifts for children.

Rabbi David Okunov spoke about the spirit of the holiday during dark times.

“Hanukkah commemorates the remarkable triumph of light over darkness,” he said. “When faced with darkness, this menorah serves as a symbol of light, unity and togetherness. We should never forget who we are and never let anyone triumph over our beliefs.”

Holocaust survivor Helen Haberman was in attendance, as were Assemblymen Alec Brook-Krasny and Michael Novakhov and Councilmembers Ari Kagan and Inna Vernikov.

“We must stand against hate wherever it spreads,” Novakhov said on X following the celebration. “No fear can dim the light of Chanukah or cast a shadow on our identity. Together, we shine brighter, spreading unity that transcends any darkness.”

Additional reporting by Arthur De Gaeta

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