Menorah Lighting Brings Residents Together In New Windsor
As “Ambassadors of Light”
By Edie Johnson
New Windsor officials gathered with Rabbi Shmuel Serebryanski of Chabad of Eastern Orange County, Recreation Director Matt Veronesi, Assemblyman Colin Schmitt and about 100 area residents at the New Windsor Town Hall on Monday evening to celebrate beginning of the Jewish “Festival of Lights”. Rabbi Serebryanski addressed the crowd, emphasizing the message of the Menorah Lighting as he said “Only one thing can drive the darkness out of our lives, and that is Light.” Jonathan Ceglio, who is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah, recounted the story that the lighting celebrates, dating back to a time when Jews overcame a powerful group of Maccabees who had overrun the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, desecrated the Menorah, and threatened to extinguish its light. Vastly outnumbered, their victory culminated with rededicating the Temple and rekindling their Menorah. But they only found enough oil for one day. Miraculously, it lasted for 8 nights. Chanukah has been celebrated ever since by lighting the Chanukah Menorah, and promoting their tenets of “Light”, including: The light of freedom over oppression, The light of spirit over matter, the light of education and knowledge, the light of goodness and kindness, the light of tolerance and understanding, kindling our inner menorahs, and being kind to animals. One pet owner brought her pup “Gingie”, who indeed brought light and cheer to the children who were attending.
“Always increase in matters of goodness,” the Rabbi continued, and invited all those present to turn on their cell phone lights to issue in the beginning of Chanukah, adding that “Now we begin the spread of light over darkness, and spirit over obstacles.” As he lit the grand Menorah in front of Town Hall, he proclaimed “Tonight we are all Ambassadors of Light”. The children had a wonderful time afterward with the New Windsor Fire Department conducting a grand gelt and parachute dreidel drop!