In what has become a yearly tradition, Chabad’s shluchim from throughout the state of New Jersey gathered on Wednesday, December 13, to light the giant menorah on the State House lawn for the second night of Chanukah. It was lit by Albert El Grissly of Cherry Hill, a long-time supporter of Chabad.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to celebrate the wonderful diversity of the state of New Jersey and the warmth of Chabad. I genuinely look forward to this every year as it allows me to really learn about the Jewish faith on a personal level,” said Senate President Steven Sweeney, who has participated in this event every year since 2010.
Rabbi Moshe Herson, dean of the Rabbinical College of America and head shaliach to New Jersey’s 58 Chabad houses, began this unbroken tradition some 37 years ago. He said that the rebbe’s vision to bring the Chanukah message to the world is really highlighted when the highest elected officials of the state continue to show their support, and he thanked all the elected officials, shluchim and other guests for their participation.
Rabbi Mendy Herson, associate dean, Rabbinical College of America, addressed the audience and shared the meaning of the miracle of Chanukah and how it applies to today. He thanked government officials for being supportive of helping the light of Chanukah shine.
Major Brian Polite of the New Jersey State Police brought greetings on behalf of law enforcement throughout the state, reiterating the commitment of all branches of law enforcement to keeping all residents of New Jersey safe.
The event began with a performance by the Abrams Hebrew Academy Choir of Yardley, Pennsylvania, and also included a roll call of the many shluchim from throughout the state of New Jersey who attended. Rabbi Avi Richler, who emceed the event, also profusely thanked Secretary of the Senate Jennifer McQuaid for her year-round dedication in assisting the needs of the Jewish community.