Chanukah across the County of Essex was unbelievable this year. Under the auspices of Chabad Northeast London & Essex, led by Rabbi Aryeh and Devorah Sufrin MBE, together with their colleagues Rabbi Odom and Henny Brandman of Buckhurst Hill and their teams, six public Menorah lighting ceremonies were held in six different locations across Essex, UK.
Beginning the first night at Fullwell Cross in Barkingside, this new Menorah, being lit for the second year and is dedicated in loving memory of fellow Shliach Rabbi Moshe Muller z”l. The second night, a hall was hired and an event held in Epping, the newest Chabad Community where there is lots of exciting potential for growth over the coming years. Motzei Shabbos was at Gants Hill, Ilford, the first of the local Public Menorahs now in its 33rd year. The Gants Hill event was graced with the presence of the local MP and Mayor and other local dignitaries. On Sunday, the Buckhurst Hill Menorah was lit at the top of the prestigious Queens Road in the presence of local Council members following which all were invited back to the Chabad House for an evening of games, refreshments, music and this year’s Buckhurst Hill featured Menorah which was a Candy Menorah. Monday in Loughton & Zois Chanukah in Chigwell which saw the largest crowd of over 300 people. The Chigwell Lighting was in the presence of the Chairman of the Epping Forest District Council, the Queens representative for Essex as well as local Parish Chairman, local Rabbonim and dignitaries.
Between all the events over 1,500 people participated, young and old together.
In addition to these public events, Menorahs also stood in local superstores, the Town Hall and numerous car menorahs ensuring the miracles of Chanukah were displayed for all to see.
Rabbi Sufrin announced: “plans are now under way to place Menorahs in two more locations PG by next year which will mean we will have to make choices and split ourselves up as Shluchim to lead different events. This is genuine Hatzlocho and delight in watching the growth of Chabad leading Yidishkeit across the County of Essex”.
Rabbi Brandman commented that “Chanukah is one of those really beautiful festivals where Chabad has found a way of literally bringing the warmth and joy out to the streets where we can reach people who may not have been touched or effected otherwise. These events literally bring people out who may never have yet attended a Synagogue this year, and even those who do not attend the events, who knows how many thousands of people saw these Menorahs over Chanukah and what feeling for their Judaism this aroused inside of them”.
Both Rabbis added: Many people helped make these events possible and to them we are very thankful as we could not do it without them. Howard Wise and Greg Warren worked hard to bring all the massive Menorahs out of storage. Alan Grant, who built the Menorahs is actively involved in putting them up every year. Other volunteers – Ilford Shluchos Hinda and Michal, Hadley Grant, Shimi Muller, Desmond Solomon, Alan Malina, Laraine warren and Karen Wise were involved in getting the events ready, making over 2,000 latkes and making sure all events ran smoothly.