(Courtesy of Chabad JLC) Hundreds of people gathered in Veterans Memorial Park in Springfield to join together and light a giant menorah for the first night of Chanukah. The evening marked the fifth annual public menorah lighting arranged by the Chabad Jewish Learning Center of Springfield, in partnership with Congregation Israel of Springfield. Special guests included Springfield’s police and fire departments, first aid squad and the township committee.
Chabad Co-Directors Rabbi Mendy and Aidella Blesofsky of the JLC thanked everyone who came and encouraged the guests to celebrate the miracle of Chanukah by performing mitzvot and good deeds for others. Mayor Diane Stampoulos said a few words and wished the crowd a happy Chanukah. The crowd went wild when Rabbi Blesofsky lit the shamash candle and made two blessings over the candles, while ascending 20 feet above the ground. Following the lighting of the candles, the rabbi soared over the crowd and tossed traditional Chanukah “gelt” to the children below. Traditional Chanukah delicacies were served, much to the delight of children (and adults) of all ages. The treats included traditional latkes and fresh doughnuts, chocolate coins and warm beverages. The youngest guests also had the opportunity to sing the dreidel song with other Chanukah favorites. Live music entertained the audience while everyone enjoyed the festive atmosphere.
The rabbi thanked Springfield’s Office of Emergency Management; Springfield auxiliary police; the Department of Public Works; police, fire and first aid; and Springfield Township for their involvement in making the public menorah lighting an inspiring and memorable evening. Additional thanks went to the evening’s sponsors: Jonny from 8 Minute Oil Change and Auto Repair, Jeff from Pinkava’s Motor Company, Mack Retail Camera & Video Service and Gary & Ina Singer from Signature Realty.