Hanukkah to be more ‘significant’ than ever before


The South Baldwin Jewish Center, SBJC, will be hosting their annual Chanukah Candle Lighting next month, but amid the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, the holiday will hold more significance.

The candle lighting will be on Dec. 7, exactly two months after Hamas launched their attack on Israel. The holiday, which celebrates the Jewish resilience and the miracle of oil that burned for eight days, will be celebrated at the Baldwin Train Station at 6:45 p.m. Food will be served following the lighting at the South Baldwin Jewish Center.

“This year’s menorah lighting will absolutely be more significant than previous years,” Jeff Barkan, co-president of the SBJC, explained. “Whether you’re Jewish, whether you’re Muslim, whether you’re Catholic, everybody’s appalled by what happened.”

Barkan explained that the Rabbi at the lighting usually brings song sheets for the community members to sing along to some of the Hebrew prayers. This year, Barkan said he hopes that the Rabbi will bring additional prayers to commemorate the people who were impacted by the ongoing war. Barkan said that he has given out about 150 blue ribbons pins for community members to express their support for Israel and he plans to hand out more at the lighting.

“The police department will be on higher alert during the candle lighting,” Barkan said. “We spoke with them and requested their presence that night.”

The menorah is about seven to eight feet tall, according to Barkan, and depending on the weather, there have been dozens of community members in attendance in previous years. This year, officials like Councilman Chris Carini and Legislator Debra Mulé will be at the event. Barkan said he invited Congressman Anthony D’Esposito as well.

“The weather turned cold forcing a lot of our older congregants to stay home, however we were thankful for those who turned out to celebrate,” the South Baldwin Jewish Center Facebook page stated last year on Dec. 18. “Councilman Christopher Carini always shows his support for our community, as well as legislator Debra Mulé.”

“This event is just to show that the area of this neighborhood still has a Jewish presence,” Barkan said. “We’ve also invited reps from the Baldwin Chamber of Commerce to come and it’s basically a statement, especially this year with what’s going on.”

Barkan noted that the Jewish center announces programs and events throughout the year on their Facebook page. He said that the entire community is invited to attend these events.