Tags Posts tagged with "Hanukkah"


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Approximately 200 people celebrated the first night of Hanukkah at Village Chabad in East Setauket.

When addressing the attendees, Rabbi Motti Grossbaum talked about the inspiring message of the holiday where even one flame of light can dispel an immense amount of darkness.

“Just like on the menorah itself, every day we must increase on the good we did yesterday and ultimately good will always prevail,” he said.

Setauket Fire Department volunteers were on hand to help with the lighting. Attendees enjoyed a Chocolate Coin “Gelt Drop,” when 2,000 coins were tossed from the top of an extended fire truck bucket up in the air. There were also traditional jelly donuts, hot latkes and hot cocoa for all. Jester Jim performed a juggling show under the Menorah’s glow to conclude the program.

The rabbi invited everyone in attendance to help break a record on the night of Saturday, Dec. 24, for 1,000 Jewish homes in Suffolk and Nassau counties to light menorahs simultaneously on Zoom from the comfort of their own homes. To register, visit Menorah1000.com.

Photos by Gail DeClue


Potato pancakes are traditionally served during Chanukah celebrations. This dish is often referred to as “latkes,” a Yiddish word that loosely translates to “little oily thing.” Potato pancakes are not exclusive to Jewish celebrations and cuisine. Germans have their own variation called “kartoffelpuffer” that can be served with sour cream, applesauce or smoked salmon. The Irish have “boxty,” which may be made with a combination of shredded potato and mashed potato before being fried. Many potato pancake recipes are quite similar. They involve only a few ingredients and fry up in a flash. Some chefs recommend draining the shredded potato prior to cooking so that the pancakes will fry up crispy and not be soggy or break apart.

Enjoy this recipe for Latkes, courtesy of AllRecipes.com


YIELD: Serves 12


3 large potatoes, peeled and shredded

1 small onion, shredded

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, or as needed

1/2 cup vegetable oil


1. Place the potatoes and onion into a bowl, and stir in eggs, salt and flour as needed to make the mixture hold together. With wet hands, scoop up about 1/3 cup of the mixture per patty, and form into flat round or oval shapes.

2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, and gently place the patties into the hot oil. Fry until the bottoms are golden brown and crisp, 5 to 8 minutes, then flip with a spatula and fry the other side until golden.

3. Line a colander or strainer with 2 paper towels, and drain the cooked latkes in the colander. Serve hot.

Photos by Media Origin

Chabad of Huntington Village hosted a Grand Menorah Lighting at the Huntington Village Winter Wonderland at Main Street and Wall Street on Monday, Dec. 19.

Residents were able to witness the lighting and enjoy juggling and fire entertainment by Keith Leaf, doughnuts and more. 


Stock photo

Here we are in the midst of the holiday season.

In the Dec. 1 TBR News Media article, “Check in with each other, yourself before approaching holidays, local doctors urge” by Daniel Dunaief, medical professionals stressed the importance of people visiting or calling loved ones and taking note of their moods.

The doctors had additional excellent advice: Check in with yourself during this busy season, too.

The last few weeks may have been overwhelming for many people with preparing the house for company, decorating and ensuring there’s a special gift for everyone.

While stressing about how clean the house is or if it’s decorated enough, sometimes what gets lost in the mayhem is that this is the season when people make more of an effort to gather, to stop for a bit and to catch up. In the grand scheme, our home doesn’t need to look like it’s ready for a photo shoot with Homes & Gardens to spend quality time with our loved ones.

It’s the time of year when we tend to reach out to those who don’t live near us, too. Whether it’s a call, text, letter or card, it is wonderful when we reconnect and take a trip down memory lane.

As for the stress of gift giving, it doesn’t have to get out of control. Following a budget and avoiding charging presents can go a long way regarding our bank balances. In addition to exchanging presents, there are so many ways to show we care. 

People can also share their talents or skills by gifting a picture they painted or a poem they wrote. A loved one may need help painting a room or raking the leaves. Why not offer the gift of time?

Sometimes the gift of time is the most cherished present of all, and many people, especially parents and grandparents, would appreciate some one-on-one time put aside for them, whether it involves a free or inexpensive activity or just talking over hot beverages.

There’s a sacred side of this season, too, that sometimes gets lost in the hustle and bustle. Just sitting and thinking of the miracles represented by Christmas and Hanukkah can bring much-needed stress relief.

This time of year should be about hope and starting fresh in the new year. The holidays are a time for joy and laughter, a moment to celebrate the many blessings in life. Materialism and commercialization of the holidays and competing with our neighbors over holiday displays may create unnecessary pressures for us, perverting the meaning of the season.

Here’s to a relaxing holiday season filled with family and friends, from TBR News Media.

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Photo by Julianne Mosher

To commemorate the first night of Hanukkah Sunday, Nov. 28, families gathered together at the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce Train Car for a ceremony to light the menorah. 

At 4 p.m., just as the sun began to set, Rabbi Aaron Benson led the group in prayer, song and the lighting of a tabletop menorah, as well a large one facing the front of the train car on Route 112. 

“We’re always very pleased to be able to share the holidays with the community and the chamber has been a great partner,” Benson said. “The holiday really is universal in its meaning — the idea of lighting the way during the darkness and freedom for people to express who they are.” 

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On Sunday, Nov. 28, members of the Village Chabad kicked off the Festival of Lights with a joyous celebration.

Rabbi Motti Grossbaum said more than 250 attendees attended the menorah lighting on the first night of Hanukkah at the Village Chabad’s center in East Setauket. In addition to lighting the first candle of the 20-foot menorah with help from landscaping company Clovis Outdoor Service’s  bucket truck, there was a juggling show by Jester Jim, a chocolate gelt drop as well as latkes, doughnuts and hot chocolate being served.

Village Chabad has erected public menorahs in the Three Village community for 35 years, including at the Smith Haven Mall and on the lawn of Stony Brookside Bed & Bike Inn, as well as setting up menorahs in local supermarkets and additional public intersections in the area, according to Grossbaum.

At the event, the rabbi encouraged everyone to go home and light their own menorah.

“We should put our menorahs by the window, and if people ask you, say, ‘Yes, I am Jewish, and tonight we are celebrating Hanukkah. I would love to tell you more about it. I would love to give you a latke or a doughnut, and Hanukkah is so much fun,’” he said. “So, tonight is about our rededication. It’s about our education and our commitment to our Jewish pride tonight, for the next eight nights and throughout the year.” 

Last year the Chabad was unable to hold a formal gathering due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“It was incredibly encouraging and inspiring to come together safely as a community, young and old, after the challenging time we’ve all been through,” Grossbaum said after the event. “It is clear that the message of Hanukkah is alive today as it ever was … that light, goodness, kindness, unity and hope will always prevail.”

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By Barbara Beltrami

You know, for a long time now, Jewish cuisine around here has been mostly from descendants of Central European and Russian immigrants; consequently, when we think of Hanukkah, the eight-day Festival of Lights, we think of traditional holiday fare passed down from ancestors who came from those countries. 

But there are Jewish populations all over the world, and some of them have immigrated here in recent years and brought their own holiday fare with them. So this year, I’m going to integrate their traditions into my Hanukkah menus, and I hope you will too. 

I’m thinking that the ubiquitous roast chicken is the perfect way to highlight the special flavors of various other Jewish cuisines. A favorite version of that would be one with dried fruit and almonds from Morocco or a lemony Mediterranean one. But I’d also love to try a recipe for Chinese roast chicken that I am told goes back to the Jewish colony in Shanghai many years ago. Can I make roast chicken three out of the eight nights of Hanukkah? The flavors are all so different, why not?

Moroccan Roast Chicken

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/2 pounds onions, thinly sliced

1 cup dried apricots

1 cup pitted prunes

3/4 cup dried dates

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

One 4 to 5 pound whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3/4 to 1 cup water

1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds


In large cast iron skillet heat half the oil over medium-high heat; add onions and, stirring occasionally, cook until deep golden brown, about half an hour. Transfer to large bowl, add dried fruit, sugar and cinnamon. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread fruit mixture over bottom of large roasting pan. Rub chicken with remaining oil, turmeric, and salt and pepper; pour water around chicken and roast for one hour. 

Rotate pan and add more water, a little at a time, if fruit mixture is starting to dry out; roast another 45 minutes, until chicken is browned and juices run clear when thigh joint is pierced. Let rest 10 minutes before carving. Transfer with any juices to warmed platter, sprinkle with almonds, arrange fruit around edges and serve with Israeli couscous. 

Mediterranean Roast Chicken

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


1/4 cup olive oil

Juice from one freshly squeezed lemon

Grated zest from one lemon 

3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

One 3 1/2 to 4 pound roasting chicken, washed and patted dry

4 garlic cloves

1 onion, quartered


Preheat oven to 425 F. In a small bowl combine the oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, rosemary, salt and pepper; rub mixture inside chicken cavity and all over outside of chicken. Stuff cavity with remains of lemon, garlic and onion, sprinkle outside with more salt and pepper and place breast side up on rack in roasting pan. Roast 50 to 60 minutes, until skin is dark golden and juices run clear when thigh joint is pierced with a fork. Serve with roasted potatoes.

Shanghai Roast Chicken

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings


1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon dried mustard

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 whole 4 to 5 pound roasting chicken, rinsed and patted dry


In small bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the chicken. Transfer to large resealable bag; add chicken and turn to evenly coat with spice mixture. Rotating every few hours, refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Preheat oven to 350 F. Reserving marinade, place chicken on wire rack in roasting pan and roast 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours until dark golden brown and thigh juices run clear when pierced with a fork. 

In medium saucepan, heat marinade to boiling and occasionally baste chicken with it. Remove from oven, let sit 10 minutes, then carve and serve with rice and grilled scallions.

Pixabay photo

By Rabbi Aaron Benson

Hanukkah candles need to burn for at least thirty minutes. The Jewish holiday, Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, involves lighting a candle for each of the holidays eight nights.

Rabbi Aaron Benson

Of course the candles can burn longer than that, but the ancient sages determined such a length of time would be enough to make the lighting significant and yet not overly costly at a time when candles would have been more expensive and essential than today.

The lights remind us of a miracle performed for the ancient Jews. Having thrown off the yoke of foreign rule, they came to rededicate the despoiled Temple in Jerusalem. There they found only enough oil to light the Temple menorah for a day, but the oil miraculously last eight days. During that time the Jews were able to prepare more oil.

Yet we light for only thirty minutes. We illuminate the long winter night for the briefest of intervals. It seems inadequate but we not only do it once, but over and over for more than a week. And this is enough to celebrate a holiday about miracles.

Sometimes in life we may only be able to “light up the dark” temporarily to help that friend or family member or ourselves just a little. Should we refrain from doing so just because we can’t fix it all? Certainly not! Over and over we must keep doing what we can, even if it might be just a little, to bring some good, to cause a miracle to take place.

During the thirty minutes the Hanukkah candles burn each night, and during all this winter season, let us do our part, whether large or small, to aid those lost in the night and light the way for them.

The author is the rabbi of North Shore Jewish Center in Port Jefferson Station.

Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, 68 Hauppauge Road, Commack will host a holiday-themed Festival of Lights drive-thru light display on its campus on Monday, Dec. 14 and Tuesday, Dec. 15, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The display will feature thousands of blue, gold and white lights arranged in a variety of scenes and include inflatable menorahs, dreidels and other holiday fun. Guests will be able to tune their car radio to a special FM station (107.7 FM) for a musical accompaniment to the visual experience.

“The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, and we wanted to provide some cheer and a thank you to the communities that have helped our residents and honored our healthcare heroes this year,” said Stuart B. Almer, President & CEO of Gurwin Healthcare System.

Guests are urged to brighten the season for nursing home residents by bringing donations of unwrapped gifts  including puzzle books and pens, fuzzy holiday socks and other personal gifts.

The event is made possible by the generosity of sponsors, including Ambulnz (Presenting Sponsor), Advantage Title Agency, Inc., Gensler Cona Elder Law, Huntington Hospital Northwell Health, Setton International Farms, Unidine, Austin Williams and Jackson Lewis, PC.

The display is free of charge and no reservations are needed. For more information call 631-715-2563. Posts on social media can use the hashtag #GurwinLights.