Borough President Vito Fossella gathered with members of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island - COJO and a host of elected officials to light the menorah at Borough Hall on Wednesday --- the fourth night of Hanukkah.
The evening began with students from the Jewish Foundation School of Staten Island reciting the Pledge Of Allegiance, as well as singing the Star Spangled-Banner and Hatikva, the national anthem of Israel.
“Listening to these young people sing, not only the national anthem of the United States, but of Israel, reminds us of how wonderful our future is and how we come together as all faiths to celebrate,” said Borough President Fossella. “When times are tough and when things are down, we know we have our faith to pull us through. I wish you nothing but joy and happiness in the season ahead.”
District Attorney Michael McMahon thanked the NYPD and the Hate Crimes Task Force for their vigilance in stemming the tide of anti-Semitic crimes.
“It was the light of oil lamps that led the way for Jews who fought against evil thousands of years ago,” said District Attorney McMahon. “It’s the light we see in the faces of these wonderful students. It’s the light we see all around as we bring the year to a close. We join together in love -- and it is that love that will help us fight against hate.”
Prior to the lighting of the menorah, Rabbi Abraham Biderman of Congregation Oorah said the message of the candles should be celebrated all year, not just during the eight days of Hanukkah.
“Stop, pause, and contemplate the miracles around us every day,” he said. “Those candles are our souls. Take a few minutes to nourish your soul and feed your spirit every day.”