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Thousands at Florida Chanukah Festival

by Reuven Arazi

HALLANDALE, FL [CHI] — A record breaking crowd of 12,0000 men, women and children participated in the 29th annual South Florida Chassidic Chanukah Festival, at Gulfstream Park and Casino in Hallandale Beach.

The evening was dedicated to Rabbi and Mrs Gavriel Holzberg and the victims of the Mumbai Massacre. Star performances were put on by child prodigy Ethan Bortnick and Avraham Fried. Greetings to the Festival were sent by President Bush and Governor Crist. Proclamations were issued by Broward County, and the cities of Hollywood and Hallandale.The Proclamations called for 107 days to increase in goodness and kindness, from December 20th till 11 Nissan.

More pictures in the Extended Article!

Dignitaries included Sheriff Al Lamberti,Broward Commissioner Suzzanne Gunzburger, Hallandale Commissioners Keith London and Dotty Ross, former State senator Steve Geller, Jewish Federation Leader Bruce Yudewitz, and Michael Calderin, Alan Berkowitz and Chaplain Rick Braswell, also from the Sheriff’s office.

Lighting the Menorah , in addition to the dignitaries, were Rabbi Avrohom Korf, head Shliach of the Rebbe to Florida, Rabbi Raphael Tennenhaus, head Shliach to South Broward, Mr Haim Weiner, chairman of Florida Friends of Lubavitch, and Mr Ronnie Cons, visiting from Montreal.

The brochos on the Menorah and Maoz Tzur was led by Cantor Rabbi Yossy Lebovics.

The Holzberg’s were remembered in the Proclamations, and prayers were said for Israel to succeed in wiping out terror. The huge crowd was asked to light Chanukah candles when they got home, the men were asked to put on Tefillin the next day, and the women and girls were asked to light Shabbos candles.

The Bochurim and others danced the night away, making it not only the largest Festival,but the liveliest in history. The students of the Chaya Aydel Seminary volunteered extensively and distributed 2,000 Chanukah gift bags with gelt to all boys and girls under bar and bas mitzvah.

Rabbi Levi Tennenhaus, Chabad’s program director, said “we might need a bigger venue next year. We had more seats than last year, but some people had views that were partially blocked.Either way, we raised the bar once again, and I hope next years’ Festival we will make in Yerushalayim with Moshiach.”

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