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PEP Feb 2004
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Public Employee Press

Hanukkah: holiday of freedom

   
 

HANUKKAH CANDLES are lit Dec. 22 by Rabbi Alvin Kass, NYPD Senior Chaplain. With him, from right, Linda Feldman of Jewish Heritage Comm., DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts and former Treas. Mark Rosenthal.

 

Members of the District Council 37 community gathered Dec. 22 to celebrate Hanukkah and to light the menorah. Rabbi Alvin Kass, Senior Chaplain of the Police Dept. and member of Local 299, and Jewish Heritage Committee Co-chair Linda Feldman officiated.

DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts pointed out that the sacred holiday stands as “a reminder of how we can achieve great things against great odds.”

Hanukkah celebrates the victory, almost 2,200 years ago, of a guerilla band led by Judah Maccabee over a much larger Syrian army that had occupied Jerusalem and forbidden the Jews to practice their religion.

“Hanukkah is a holiday of freedom,” said Rabbi Kass. “Jewish people and people of every faith owe a debt of gratitude to these ancient fighters for freedom.”

The ancient story continues to inspire. Retiree Florence Brooks said she “grew up in Brooklyn and learned to honor the importance of the Festival of Lights.”

Joel Herbst, co-chair of the Retirees Association’s Jewish Heritage Committee noted, “The importance of this occasion is freedom and the continuation of the heritage.”

The custom of serving a festive Hanukkah meal was observed with delicious offerings of potato pancakes (latkes), applesauce and jelly donuts.

Clerical Division Grievance Rep Efrain Perez summed up the occasion: “The whole thing is a celebration of life. It includes everyone.”

— Jane LaTour


 

 
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