A giant ice Menorah was sculpted outside Chabad Midtown’s center amidst Fifth Avenue’s winter wonderland. Crowds stopped in their tracks to enjoy the sight of chainsaw-chiseling artists carving huge blocks of ice into a magnificent 14-foot ice menorah.
Delighted passersby were dusted with snow-like sprays from the holiday celebration – a spectacle enjoyed by thousands at the busy crossroads of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.
Local residents, business people, shoppers and tourists joined Rabbi Joshua and Brocha Chana Metzger in kindling the ice menorah as volunteers handed out latkes, donuts, dreidels and holiday trinkets.
Chabad of Midtown Manhattan is located on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, a few blocks from Grand Central Station, Times Square and the United Nations. Thousands flock by the flagship center every day.
After the ice menorah lighting, the festivities continued at a reception inside the Chabad Center organized by Yudel Rader, Basya Hans and Sarah Perel Metzger.
Rabbi Asher Webb and members of The Midtown Kollel lit a large menorah every night in front of Chabad Midtown and distributed thousands of menorah kits over eight days.
As in years past, public Menorahs were kindled by Chabad Midtown branches at local celebrations. Rabbi Shmuel and Raizy Metzger on Sutton Place, Rabbi Levi and Perel Shmotkin in Madison Square Park, Rabbi Noach and Dini Heber at Chabad of the Plaza District, Malka and Rabbi Yaakov Werde at Fashion Institute of Technology FIT, Rabbi Chaim and Shaina Dray on 47th Street in the diamond district – all hosted events attended by large turnouts.
At The High Line, Mutty Fogeleman and volunteers lit the menorah every night. Vacationing student groups from South America joined the festivities with spirited dancing on the High Line. Avi Metzger conducted a public lighting ceremony every night at Hudson Yards near The Vessel and shopping mall. Office workers, visitors and residents at the new towers and hotels in Hudson Yards were thrilled to join the festivities.
On Fifth Avenue – inundated with holiday hoopla and bright lights – the public Menorah served as a beacon of Jewish pride in the heart of the city.
The Chabad center also serves as a ‘home away from home’ hosting Chabad centers and institutions throughout the year.
Buses brought large student groups from Bais Rivka for mivtzoyim field trip and a program at the center. A group from Israel led by Ness Ziona shliach, Rabbi Sagi Har Shefer conducted a Chanukah Melava Malka featuring guest speaker Rabbi Yisroel Shimon Kalmenson.
Locals and international visitors from 17 countries enjoyed Shabbat Chanukah meals at the center. On Friday night, due to the large turnout, 400 guests were seated on two separate floors. Visitors from all over the USA, Israel, France, Italy, Austria, Spain, Gibraltar, England, Ukraine, Russia, Canada, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand joined in the singing and celebrating.
College students from FIT, Baruch College, SUNY State and Stern College joined the Shabbat meals as well. Over the weekend, Zvi Reines and team served over 600 gourmet Shabbat meals enjoyed by all.
Chabad Clubs at YU and Stern College organized a Chanukah concert at the center, featuring renowned singer Yosef David. 300 college students from all over town joined in the musical celebration featuring the popular singer’s signature Chabad songs.
Undoubtedly, these menorahs will burn brightly in the memory of all participants throughout the year.