By COLlive reporter
“Is there a reason the lights are still on?”, “Did you forget to turn them off?”, “Are you still expecting holiday gifts?”, “Did you buy the lot?”
These are some of the questions that Rabbi Ari Kirschenbaum has been receiving in recent weeks about the public menorah which was not stored away since Chanukah.
The sight of the Menorah and its 8 lit bulbs has certainly caught people’s attention as it continues to stand outside Chabad Heights on Franklin Avenue and Sterling Place in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights East neighborhood.
In response to the questions, Rabbi Kirschenbaum hung up a new sign on the Menorah. It reads:
“Chanukah may be over, but its message of hope and perseverance, of the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness endures. Now more than ever. So we shine on. #AmYisroelChai.”
Alonna Bondar, a local speech therapist, commented: “I was wondering about this when I passed by today.” Local resident Aviva Hoffinger-Sabol said her young son approves of the new fixture. “Favorite part of Marc’s walk to and from Gan,” she said about her son’s visit to the Chabad preschool.
Speaking to COLlive.com, Rabbi Kirschenbaum said that “some people’s initial reaction was one of curiosity as the Menorah remained lit post-Chanukah, but most of the Jewish residents welcomed it with pride.”
Being located in the center of the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare, he said, has helped it to become “a hit selfie hotspot.”
Asked how long it will remain up, he replied: “For as long as its message needs to be heard, applied and embedded in us all, that being Jewish is something that every Jew must be proud of and worn on our sleeve notwithstanding our background, affiliation or political leanings.”
Rabbi Kirschenbaum said his community, like many Jewish communities in the Greater New York area and beyond, have been discussing the worrying rise in anti-Semitic attacks on Jews.
“There’s a sense of general concern that has spring-boarded the conversation about overall Shul security, while simultaneously, ironically serving as the inspiration for so many local (and often unaffiliated) Jews to both start attending services and in general reconnect to their heritage and learn more about their own Yiddishkeit,” he said.