A light glows in Far Rockaway. On Sunday, December 18, the first night of Hanukkah, the Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation (RDRC) brought together the Far Rockaway community and local organizations to the intersection of Mott Ave and Central Ave for the biggest lighting of the Far Rockaway Hanukkah Menorah yet.
Sunday’s celebration included representatives from RDRC, the Bayswater Jewish Center, the Bayswater Civic Association, the 101st Precinct, the Jewish Community Council of the Rockaway Peninsula (JCCRP), Rockaway Nassau Patrol, Rockaway Kosher Supermarket, Russo’s Pharmacy, the Rockaway Business Alliance and the Mitzvah Tank.
In a quick speech on the chilly afternoon, Renee Williams, COO of RDRC said, “We thank you for allowing us to celebrate and commemorate this auspicious occasion with you. Happy Hanukkah!” Deputy Inspector Richard Taylor of the NYPD Community Affairs Borough and Captain Timothy P. Schultz of the 101st Precinct spoke on behalf of the police department. “Happy first night of Hanukkah, the donuts are delicious,” Captain Schultz said.
Jelly donuts, chocolate gelt, hot coffee and hot chocolate were provided to all guests at a table set up by RDRC. The Mitzvah Tank was also on hand, providing menorahs and Shabbos candles to all who wanted them.
Allison Deal, executive director of JCCRP, spoke about the turnout and collaboration for the evening’s event. “I love this community, I live here, I work here. I really feel like we’re not just friends, we’re family, we’re neighbors, we live together, and it is so special for me personally to be able to celebrate our holiday together,” she said. Others shared the same sentiments, as community members of various organizations, races and walks of life came out for the event. Far Rockaway resident Pesach Osina said it was one of the best turnouts he’s seen. “This is the largest Hanukkah lighting that I’ve seen down here and that’s a testament to all the organizations that put this together,” he said.
Members of the Mitzvah Tank led in song, dance and games as the menorah was lit for the first night of Hanukkah.