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Over 3,000 people gather for Chanukah celebration in Queens

Dec. 14, 2023 By Ethan Marshall

More than 3,000 Queens residents braved the cold weather Wednesday night to attend the fifth annual “Light Up the Night” Chanukah celebration at Cunningham Park in Fresh Meadows.

Photo by Jason Zucker

Photo by Jason Zucker

The event was headlined by Israeli singing sensation Gad Elbaz. In addition to Elbaz’s performance, the event featured a menorah lighting ceremony, which was carried out by Rabbi Shmuel Kogan of Ganeinu Academy. As part of the ceremony, children recited 12 Torah passages.

Gad Elbaz performs at the Light Up the Night Chanukah celebration. Photo by Jason Zucker

Rabbi Shmuel Kogan with Elbaz. Photo by Jason Zucker

Rabbi Kogan was joined in the menorah lighting by Miri Ben Ami, whose son, Yosef Chain Ohana, is one of the hostages in Gaza. Attendees prayed for her safe return, as well as the other hostages in Gaza.

Miri Ben Ami. Photo by Jason Zucker

Rabbi Kogan lights the menorah. Photo by Jason Zucker

This year’s Light Up the Night featured the introduction of multiple new elements. Attendees were captivated by a professional fireworks show. Major prizes, including a PlayStation 5, were also given away. Participants competed against each other in an interactive Kahoot game as well, adding an extra layer of excitement to the celebration.

Photo by Jason Zucker

Photo by Jason Zucker

The main focus for this year’s celebration was Jewish unity and pride; and how darkness is dispelled by adding light. With antisemitism on the rise in New York City, security measures were undertaken by the New York City Mayor’s Office, the NYPD, Shmira Public Safety and the NYC Parks Police.

Photo by Jason Zucker

The Light Up the Night Chanukah celebration is becoming a fixture in Queens. In addition to serving as a beacon for Jewish pride, it exemplifies the strength of bonds within a community, as well as the ability to overcome challenges.

Photo by Jason Zucker

Organizers of the event included Ganeinu Academy, Chabad Ohr Avner, Young Israel of Jamaica Estates, House of Torah, Young lsrael of Holliswood, Young lsrael of Hillcrest and Bukharian Chai Center, Bukharian Jewish Community Center of Queens and Queens Jewish Community Council.

Photo by Jason Zucker

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