As the sun began to set on the Town of Newburgh, members of Temple Beth Jacob, town council members and friends and family gathered at Chadwick Lake to celebrate the final lighting of the Hanukkah menorah.
“I am ecstatic over our community being so excited about coming together,” Rabbi Douglas Kohn of Temple Beth Jacob said. “These two years, we’ve needed time to come together.”At around five p.m., the group made their way over to the menorah, placed on the hilltop where residents enter into the park.
Rabbi Kohn led the group gathered at the park in thanking the town board members present Supervisor Gil Piaquadio, and Councilmen Anthony LoBiondo, Scott Manley and Paul Ruggiero for coming out on the cold night to support this celebration. Parks Commissioner James Presutti was also recognized and thanked for setting up and maintaining the menorah during the Hanukkah season.
The history of the menorah at Chadwick Lake begins in 2006, when David J. Rein’s son, Brandon peered out the window of the family home, towards the hill at Chadwick Lake during that summer. At the age of five, Brandon asked his father the question of why doesn’t the Town of Newburgh have a menorah for Hanukkah? There was always a tree lighting but never a menorah lighting. David responded to his question by telling him that the next time they saw Parks Commissioner Rob Petrillo they would ask him about the menorah.
As months passed heading into the fall time of that year, David and Brandon were walking together in the park and happened upon a public gathering that Petrillo was attending. Brandon and his dad made their way over to Petrillo and Brandon asked Petrillo directly why there was no menorah. After listening to Brandon and his perspective, Petrillo ordered a menorah for the town during the Hanukkah season. Now that the menorah was here, the Rein’s would maintain the lighting each year, for all eight nights and it has been that way since. According to David, Brandon is now 20 years old and currently studying to become a doctor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts. The Times reported that Petrillo retired from the town in March of 2020.
As thanks and appreciation concluded, the members of the group entered into song and prayer as the final light on the menorah was lit. “Hope. Hope for unity in our community,” Rein said, talking about this Hanukkah celebration. “That light of Hanukkah brings for me hope.”
Following the Hanukkah celebration, friends and family gathered at the Rein residence to take part in food, laughter and to celebrate the final night of Hanukkah with their own menorah.
Thus this concludes the Hanukkah season, as we make our way to Christmas.