An awards ceremony was held at the Jewish Children’s Museum Monday to thank the organizers of the Great Lag B’Omer Parade in Crown Heights, and those that worked tirelessly to make it happen.
Weeks and months of meticulous planning and meetings with city officials, police officials, volunteers and various members of the parade committees truly bore fruit.
Over 30,000 people, including all of the school children of Crown Heights and many other participating schools, danced to the exciting music that preceded the parade.
Schools, groups, synagogues and Chabad Houses from all across the Northeastern U.S. participated. Groups from the Greater Metropolitan Area, Pittsburgh, PA; New Haven, CT; Massachusetts; Baltimore, MD; New Jersey, Los Angeles and many New York State cities and towns also participated in the parade.
Awards were presented to members of the New York Police Department, to the Chief of Brooklyn South, Chief Joseph Fox and Inspector Charles Scholl, and to the CO of the 71st Precinct Inspector Peter Simonetti, Sergeant Bobby Troice, Lieutenant John Cantwell, and Community Affairs Officer Vinnie Martinos.
Vice Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky thanked the Police Department, pointing out that “you only appreciate something when you don’t have it.”
“I travel all over the world, and there is a great difference in how New York’s Finest truly comes through for the people of the city,” Kotlarsky said.
“The police went out of their way to help us accomplish and reach our goals and to make the parade comfortable and exciting for everyone,” said Rabbi Shimon Hecht of NCFJE and Rabbi Sholem Ber Baumgarten of Tzivos Hashem.
After receiving his award, Chief Fox said he is asked by his colleagues why the parade has to be specifically on Eastern Parkway.
“You could give Chabad all of Central Park and all of Manhattan, and they wouldn’t be happy,” he remarked.
“The only place for this parade is at 770 Eastern Parkway, where the Rebbe would watch from the window and come out and wave to the people,” he explained, to applause from the crowd.
Special parade commemorative medallions were presented to the team of young men and women who organized the parade by Rabbi Shimmy Weinbaum, the parade director.
One of the most exciting aspects of the parade, which certainly brings fulfillment to our Rebbe’s legacy, was the participation of close to 1,200 Public School children, members of the Released Time program, who attended together with their parents and friends.
A special souvenir booklet that will be printed next week thanked COLlive.com for being among the co-sponsors of the parade and for holding the iParade art competition which 119 Lubavitch kids entered. An additional competition for Released Time students was held as well.
“The theme of the Parade was ‘Jewish Unity’ and there was no question that the parade itself embodied unity in the fullest measure,” added rabbis Hecht and Baumgarten in a thank you letter.