Fort Lee’s community Menorah lighting took place Tuesday at the “triangle” in Fort Lee—the small area formed by Lemoine Avenue, Main Street and Schlosser Street.
Sponsored by , the event was in celebration of the first night of Hanukkah.
Rabbi Kenneth Stern welcomed those gathered, as a light rain began to fall, saying they would sing several Hanukkah songs before asking someone standing nearby the Menorah to “throw the switch.”
“There’s an opinion in the public that said you start with eight and you go in descending order,” Stern said. “I’m almost happy to say that’s what we should do tonight, just so it isn’t one lonely candle.”
He added, “But majority rules, and we have to start with one and go up.”
Stern then turned things over to Cantor Paul Zim, who led the singing, including Chanukah Chag Yafeh and I Have a Little Dreidel, among many other songs from Gesher Shalom’s Hanukkah Songbook—the latter of which was sung mostly by the many children in attendance.
Stern expressed special thanks to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, who attended the celebration, adding, “I think the majority of the Borough Council is here with us this evening.”
He also thanked the Fort Lee DPW for setting up the stage and the Fort Lee police before passing out gelt—or chocolate coins—to the kids.
After the lighting, Stern invited everyone to continue the celebration back at the Synagogue on Anderson Avenue for jelly doughnuts, potato latkes, traditional Hanukkah fare, hot chocolate, music and more.
Hanukkah—the eight-day Festival of Lights—continues through Dec. 28.