PHOTOS BY SCOTT WATERS
To celebrate the 2019 Hanukkah season, Hebrew School students from the Chabad Jewish Center of Suffern designed a giant gumball menorah standing 11 feet tall, constructed of over 7,000 gum balls, on display at the Shop Rite of Tallman shopping center.
Chabad of Suffern has been hosting the public menorah celebration in the Suffern area for 11 years. Occurring weeks after the horrific anti-Semitic shooting in Jersey City, the first night of menorah lighting Sunday, December 22 was celebrated by a record number of Jewish participants.
“Chanukah is the celebration of light over darkness,” said Rabbi Shmuel Gancz, who directs Chabad Jewish Center of Suffern. “The darkness that we, as a nation, have been experiencing must be fought with light and goodness. We are putting together our biggest program ever to show that we will not be intimidated by those who wish to scare us.”
The event began with a performance by Illusionist, Adam Cardone, and was followed by programs for children including a Fire Truck Gelt Drop, where thousands of chcolate coins were thrown from a fire truck. The highlight of the event was the lighting of the First of its kind Bubble Gum Menorah.
While public menorah lightings have been — and continue to be — an integral part of the holiday, this year, an increased number of community members have shared that they will be joining public menorah lightings to express their Jewish pride, Gancz noted. Since its inauguration in 2008, the menorah has become an iconic staple of the Suffern holiday scene, being redesigned each year with an original twist on its feature.