MONROE – The state’s largest menorah was lit with a little boost from Monroe Township Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1.
Rabbi Eliezer Zaklikovsky welcomed the large crowd that came out to State Park on Perrineville Road, at the corner of Prospect Plains Road, to celebrate the first day of the Hanukkah Festival of Lights on Nov. 28.
He said with the support of Mayor Stephen Dalina and council members they were able to use the fire company’s ladder truck to light the menorah. As the crowd watched, the ladder truck lifted Zaklikovsky along with Dalina and others in the fire truck’s bucket to the top of the menorah.
The Chabad of Monroe, led by Zaklikovsky, has been hosting the public menorah celebration in Monroe for 20 years with a 32-foot tall menorah, which is a replica of the National Menorah lit across the street from the White House in Washington D.C.
The ceremony was a welcome sign of normalcy after a year and a half of the coronavirus pandemic.
“People are still scared,” Zaklikovsky said.
During the celebration, Dalina presented a proclamation in celebration of Hanukkah. It also included musical performances and programs for children including dancing with Dreidel-man and the Maccabees. The crowd also enjoyed hot apple cider, cocoa and doughnuts.
In commemoration, Jews celebrate Hanukkah for eight days by lighting an eight-branched candelabrum known as a menorah. The celebration began on Nov. 28 and concludes on the evening of Dec. 6.
Since its inauguration in 2002, the 32-foot tall menorah in Monroe has become an iconic staple of central Jersey holiday scene.
For more information, visit www.ChabadMonroe.org or call 732-656-1616.