“Thank you for sharing a part of the holiday with us,” BP Oddo said at the ceremony. “The overriding sentiment we should all have at this time is joy. This is truly a happy occasion when we get to spend time with the people we love, the people we are closest to, the people who are most precious to us and we should enjoy that.”
For a few minutes, he turned his attention to “go into the darkness, sort of into the shadows because it needs to be said.”
He spoke of a recent meeting with District Attorney Michael McMahon, the heads of Staten Island’s four police precincts and leaders of the Jewish community.
“We talked about what is happening in the world with greater frequency and we certainly didn’t come up with fixes to what has been a long-standing problem, but there was a value to us coming together. It is a reminder that we do need to undertake more efforts to get to the kids while their still young before the adults instill hatred in them,” he said.
“Maybe, if we shine our lights a little brighter, maybe, just maybe, we can chip away at those shadows and at that darkness. The fact that we are all here tonight at this event is a small part of it. Tonight we will send a message out that across Staten Island, across NYC and across the country, we are in fact one and we celebrate our diversity.”
The evening was sponsored by the Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island. In attendance from COJO were Scott Maurer and Mendy Mirocznik.
Before we lit the menorah, there was an uplifting performance by students from the Young Day School, singing traditional Hanukkah songs.
“I wish each of you a very happy holiday,” BP Oddo said. “I hope it is filled with peace and joy and love and happiness and fun.”