The City of Bayonne hosted menorah lighting ceremony at Fitzpatrick Park last night to celebrate Hanukkah on the second day of the eight-day festival.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
“I’m very happy to be here outside Bayonne City Hall celebrating what is now the 5th annual community Hanukkah menorah lighting,” Chabad Bayonne Director Rabbi Yisrael Bennish said.
“It’s cold, but in our hearts, we are warm, and we are glowing. What a wonderful sight to see, young and old, of all different backgrounds gathered here.”
He noted it was a tradition launched under Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, who was elected to a third term in May.
“Hanukkah, the festival of lights, recalls the victory more than 2,100 years ago of a militarily weak but spiritually strong Jewish people over the mighty forces of a ruthless enemy that had overrun the Holy Land and threatened to engulf the land and its people in darkness,” Bennish added.
“The miraculous victory culminating with the rededication of the sanctuary in Jerusalem and the rekindling of the menorah which had been desecrated by the enemy has been celebrated annually since.”
He called it a symbol of the triumph of freedom over oppression and darkness.
“ … It often lurks close to home in the form of an insidious erosion of time-honored values of principles that are the foundation of any decent human society … It is surely the duty and privilege of this nation to promote all the forces of light both at home and abroad,” Bennish added.
“Happy Hanukkah … What makes this country so great is just by looking around. We’re all different but well are brothers and sisters. No matter what is that we celebrate, we need to understand that we are all brothers and sisters. It has to start with us to make a difference in the world for everyone else to see,” Davis noted.
Davis himself then proceeded to light the center candle of the menorah, known as shamash, while Bennish then lit the others.
After the lighting ceremony, a Bayonne firefighter threw gelt, chocolate coins with parachutes, from a fire truck parked on the street for the children to catch and enjoy.