Annual Menorah Lighting Brightens Season

Community members gather in front of the lit Menorah on the grounds of the Jackson Township Municipal Complex following the 12th annual Menorah Lighting Ceremony. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

JACKSON –  For a dozen years, Linda Selznick and Honey Greenberg have coordinated the township’s official Menorah Lighting, which on Dec. 18 brought together township residents of the Jewish faith, Christians, special guests and attendees from Howell and Lakewood.

The well-attended event held at the municipal complex noted the seventh night of Chanukah and began with refreshments provided by the event’s sponsors, the Women of Bat Shalom Hadassah, the Westlake Yiddish Cultural Club, Yiddish Heritage Club of Winding Ways, Shalom Club of Metedeconk Lakes and the Yiddish Heritage Shalom Club of South Knolls.

Linda Selznick, coordinator of the annual Jackson Menorah Lighting and Rabbi Baruch Goodman begin the outdoor portion of the ceremony with the lighting of the Jackson Menorah. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

Mayor Michael Reina, Council President Kenneth Bressi and Councilmen Robert Nixon and Scott Martin were present for the program as were 12th District Assemblymen Ronald S. Dancer and Robert D. Clifton.

“Linda and everyone involved with this program does a great job,” Reina said.

Rabbi Emeritus Michael Klein, from the congregation of Ahawat Olam, Howell, reviewed the meaning of Hanukkah, which he said was associated with the miracle of the Temple Menorah, when the one remaining flask of oil miraculously lasted eight nights. Candles are lit each night of Hanukkah to commemorate this miracle.

“We need light to give us hope. You need light in your soul and light in your heart. Pass that light on to the next person,” Klein said.

“We add one light every night and the message of this holiday season is to continue to share the light and not be stuck in one place. When you light a candle in one small room you can see that it has great significance,” Rabbi Shmuel Naparstek, the director of Chabad of Jackson said during the program.

Photo by Bob Vosseller

“This is my second time here for this event and Jackson is very special to me. It is a growth city, a place of diversity,” said Drew Staffenberg, the director of the Jewish Federation of Ocean County.

Ellen Keller the president of Bat Shalom Hadassah accepted a joint resolution for her organization presented by Assemblymen Dancer and Clifton during the event.

“It is great that we can all come together from different faiths to celebrate the season,” Dancer said.

Refreshments were served up prior to the start of the 12th annual Jackson Menorah Lighting Ceremony held on Dec. 18 in Town Hall and the grounds of the Jackson Museum. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

Keller thanked the lawmakers for the resolution and the leadership of Jackson Township for its years of participation in hosting the Menorah Lighting ceremony. She also noted the recent United States recognition of Jerusalem as “the true capital of Israel and I hope we see peace in that region which would be a true miracle. Without peace and health there can be no happiness.”

The Carl. W. Goetz Honors Choir led by Marge Eisenschmeid, performed several festive Hanukkah songs which included the violin during the evening program.

“Thank you. You did the community proud,” Selznick said thanking the choir, the mayor and council, Craig Brownfield, the clerk of the Jackson Senior Center and Steve Cattonar, the supervisor of the Jackson Public Works Department, Fred A. Raciewitz, director of Public Works and Joeylynn Anderson, coordinator of Recreation/Special Events.

The crowd then moved outside from the town hall chambers to the lawn near the Jackson Museum where each of the seven Menorah candles were lit.

Rabbi Baruch Goodman, who serves as campus director at Chabad House – Lubavitch at Rutgers University told those assembled that “we must bring more light, warmth and love to the world.”