A Mitzvah on Beach 116th Street

Oh Hanukkah, Oh, Hanukkah, Rockaway came to light the menorah. On the third night of Hanukkah, Tuesday, December 20, Councilwoman Joann Ariola, the Rockaway Civic Association and Temple Beth-el teamed up to host a ceremony for the lighting of the Beach 116th Street Menorah.

A small crowd gathered around the menorah and enjoyed treats like jelly donuts and chocolate gelt provided by Temple Bethl-el, plus other goodies like dreidels and blue light tubes provided by the Rockaway Civic Association for the celebration.

Rabbi Matt Carl of Temple Beth-el provided a few words at the event, held just after sunset and said traditionally the menorah is lit as soon after the sun goes down as possible, as opposed to later in the night. “One, it’s a mitzvah, we enjoy it, we want to rush to do it. But you might think since it gets darker later, wouldn’t it be more important to have light when it’s darker? But this gives us a really nice value to appreciate in our lives, which is, it’s not about waiting exactly for the right time, but we provide light at the very moment that we need it, and sometimes we don’t even realize when we need it.”

On acoustic guitar, Cantor Jeffrey Wolk then led the crowd in singing Hanukkah songs before the third candle of the menorah was lit for the night.

After the lighting, Councilwoman Ariola said, “No matter what background or where we’re from, we must all celebrate each other’s religions and traditions and continue them going,” she said, adding that the Beach 116th lighting was typically held by the late District Leader Lew Simon and the late Noni Signoretti of Brown’s Hardware, as well as Liz Hanna who couldn’t be there on Tuesday. The Beach 116th menorah is dedicated in the memory of both Signoretti and Simon.

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