Story by Shelley R. Clapper
At least 50 people gathered in front of Lewis Park in the Village of Warwick on Sat., Dec. 24 to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah. Those present included Warwick Village Mayor Michael Newhard, local residents, visitors from Manhattan and even two tourists from Paris, France.
Moshe Schwartzberg, owner of Forever Jewelers and Wolfies Restaurant in the Village of Warwick, hosted the event. Schwartzberg said that he has been organizing the event for the past twenty years.
“It is our pleasure to do it,” said Schwartzberg. He and his wife handed out traditional Hanukkah foods of latkes and doughnuts to everyone at the event.
Schwartzberg told the story of Hanukkah and the Jewish revolt against the tyrannous rule of the Greeks over two thousand years ago.
“It started many years ago in the land of Israel when the occupying power decided that Jews could not worship as they wanted to,” said Schwartzberg.
He explained that they needed oil in order to perform the ceremony of lighting the Menorah to rededicate the temple. He said, “They could not believe that the little oil that they found and thought would suffice for only one day lasted for eight days! Now for thousands of years we celebrate by lighting the Menorah.”
It is rare that Hanukkah and Christmas converge. The last time it happened was 28 years ago and the next time will be in 2027.
“To celebrate Hanukkah the same time as Christmas is great because we are celebrating together,” said Schwartzberg.