December 23, 2016 -- About two hundred area residents gathered at Sea Cliff’s John Burns Village Green on December 18 to dedicate the new Village Menorah, a beautiful 9 foot wide by 8 foot tall steel candelabra that sprouts from its base like a twisting tree, that each holiday season will, along with the 30 foot tall spruce that serves as the Village Christmas Tree, be illuminated symbolizing hope and light during the darkest time of the year.
Resident Dina Epstein, who serves on the Sea Cliff Menorah Committee, a group that was formed late last winter and that has raised funds through private donations for the crafting of the Menorah as well as for maintaining it and promoting and holding lighting ceremonies, kicked off the festivities, thanking those who helped make the the group's vision a reality - in particular, the Village of Sea Cliff, donors, Rob Mansfield of Grassroots who donated delicious baked goods and refreshments for the event, and members of the Committee who, in addition to Ms. Epstein, include Julie Gordon Hert, Joyce Segall, Talya Smilovitz, Edward Lieberman, and the artist who designed and crafted the Hanukkiah, Chris Zeppieri.
Other speakers emphasized the importance of tolerance and Hanukkah’s message of hope and perseverance to overcome dark and difficult times.
Sea Cliff Mayor Ed Lieberman noted that the menorah stood near the American flag and Village Liberty Bell, “openly displayed in the spirit of our founders’ resolution to freedom and tolerance.”
“May this menorah and its dedication in this season of light be forever in our community’s common heritage,” he said.
“The Holiday is symbolic of hope,” said Rabbi Irwin Huberman of Congregation Tifereth Israel in Glen Cove. “There’s a common message of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa - during the darkest time of year, send out a little bit of light into a dark world and you can make this world a better place.”
Rabbi Janet Liss of the North Country Reform Temple in Glen Cove, who also serves on the Nassau County Human Rights Commission, emphasized tolerance and standing up against hate in her remarks. Citing the rash of hate crimes around the country during the past two months, she urged the audience to “remember its upon each one of us to be a Maccabee and stand up and to fight for the rights of all the citizens of the United States.”
“Each one of us is a light,” she said. “Let’s make sure that our lights are shining this year.”
Cantor Talya Smilovitz of Congregation L'Dor V'Dor in Brookville, entertained the gathering with Hanukkah songs, and just before the Menorah was lit, chanted the traditional blessings that are said each night of the eight day observance.
Following the lighting, resident Cathy Virgilio, seated at an organ adjacent to the Menorrah sang her original composition, The Hanukkah Song.
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