Turkish Consul General Mehmet Samsar was swept off his feet during a visit to Borough Hall Plaza where he helped usher in Chanukah by boarding a cherry picker to light “the largest menorah in Downtown Brooklyn.”
Joined by Rabbi Araron Raskin of Congregation B’nai Avraham in Brooklyn Heights, the official flipped the switch to illuminate the 29-foot menorah in front of the Supreme Court building on Joralemon Street, between Court and Adams streets, drawing cheers from a large crowd of faithful and other visitors who basked in the glow of the seven-branched candelabrum which has been a symbol of Judaism for almost 3,000 years.
Live entertainment, holiday refreshments and gifts accompanied the ceremony for the “Festival of Lights,” traditionally marked by the illumination of candles in a menorah beginning on the 25th day of the lunar month of Kislev, and lasting for eight days. It commemorates the restoration of traditional worship and the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem following the victory of the Jews over the troops of the Syrian emperor Antiochus.
The menorah, said Borough President Marty Markowitz who led the occasion, “reminds us that throughout history Jews have found hope in the midst of horror, triumph in the face of tragedy, and light in spite of darkness.”