Chanukah on Ice NYC made history on Tuesday night, December 20, with over 1300 Jewish people taking to the ice in Trump Wollman Rink in Central Park in what has been described as the “Biggest Chanukah Party in New York City”.
The event, which drew people from throughout the New York Metro area, is a project of Chabad of the West Side.
Chabad of the Upper East Side, Chabad of Midtown and the Chabad Israel Center, along with affiliates of Chabad of the West Side, help sponsor and promote the event throughout the city.
“This year was our biggest turnout yet,” said coordinator Sarah Alevsky. “With mild weather, lots of promotion in the media, and the Yeshiva University Maccabeats headlining the event, we drew a huge crowd. The beauty of this event is that it bringsJewish people from every walk of life, and they all enjoy the spirit and the warmth of Chanukah on Ice.”
Chabad rents the rink out exclusively, which enables them to take over the entire facility. Kosher food was given out at the concession stand, Jewish music blasted from the loudspeakers, and everyone enjoyed spinning on the ice with the life-size Dreidel!
A six foot hand-carved ice Menorah was center stage, rinkside and the focal point of the evening. Eric Messinger, editor of New York Family, was on hand to light the Menorah together with Rabbi Chayim Alevsky of Chabad of the West Side, who recited the Brachos, with lots of harmony from the popular Maccabeats.
Rabbi Alevsky urged the crowd to emulate our ancestors who literally sacrificed their lives for Hashem in their battle against the ancient Syrian Greeks. Quoting the Rebbe, he said: “Today our battles are often within, to chase away our internal apathy and complacency, to increase the light of Torah and Mitzvot in our everyday family and life experience, just as the menorah lights increase each night.”
Following the menorah lighting, the Maccabeats sang their popular hits to a cheering crowd, with kids and parents alike singing along to their favorites.
A great team of volunteers from Bais Rivkah High School, Bnos Menachem High School, and Stern College helped prepare and serve the food, set up the event and man the registration tables.
Manhattan moms on Facebook have been sharing their reactions to the evening:
“It was a magical event–the beautiful setting, skating, singing, spirit, friends, donuts! The whole family loved it,” raved one NYC mom.
“For the first time, we finally attended, on the late side but it was a minor chanukah miracle we made it there at all! And boy was it worth it, truly amazing,” wrote another parent.
The Rabbis and staff of all the participating Chabad Houses look forward to once again sharing the light and joy of Chanukah next year with all of New York City, G-d willing with Moshiach in Yerushalyim!