Official Menorah Lighting Tonight

Rabbi Aaron Raskin of Congregation B’nai Avraham along with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz will light the Rabbi Jacob J. Hecht Menorah (the official menorah of Brooklyn) tonight.  The ceremony begins at 5PM at Borough Hall Plaza.

This menorah and another standing in Grand Army Plaza and sponsored by Rabbi Shimon Hecht of Park Slope are the subject of a yearly rivalry based on size (Hecht’s is one foot taller).

The rival rabbis are related – Shimon is Aaron’s uncle.  The official  menorah is named in memory of Jacob Hecht – Shimon’s father and Raskin’s grandfather.

Share this Story:

, , , , , ,

  • Beavis

    Menorah size matters.

  • Topham Beauclerk

    Brooklyn can’t have an “official” menorah because there is still such a thing as a separation between church and state. And instead of competing over the size of the menorahs, these groups should rather concern themselves with their design; they are hideous.

  • AEB

    Oh, c’mon, Topham: it’s advertising copy–and in a join-hands spirit.

    The LARGEST menorah, huh? I mean, theoretically the sky’s the limit. How about a menorah as big as the Arc de Triomphe? Buffalo, NY? The Western Hemisphere?

  • In the Heights

    Topham – How about the national Christmas tree or the fact that Christmas is a National holiday. It is comical that you think that Jewish religious symbols are the problem.

  • nabeguy

    Kind of ironic that one of the tallest Menorah’s in Brooklyn is being lit by one of its shortest residents.

  • James

    I agree with AEB above and will further state that Topham seems like a grouch. I will also humbly point out that (despite all appearances) the Christmas Tree is NOT a religious symbol and when I was a boy in the fifties the nuns CONSTANTLY reminded us of that fact.

  • Tony

    Topham is spot-on. If any of you bothered to read his comment carefully before flying into a P.C. tirade, you would have noticed that his objection was to the designation of an “official” menorah, not the presence of one (and there is no “national Christmas tree,” In the Heights). As for his criticism of the menorah’s aesthetic qualities, I take it from the silence that everyone more or less agrees.

  • AEB

    Tony, for what it’s worth (a subway fare?), I believe Topham is being PC, not those who responded to his (or her–now you’ve got me doing it) comment.

    For the record, I find most menorahs–other than the most traditional kind–kitsch. This may be a problem inherent in the difficulties involved in dealing esthetically with all those “arms.” And of course enlargng the thing to momument size invites visual disaster.

  • my2cents

    I find that municipal menorahs are always made really cheaply and poorly. Some of them are literally like PVC pipe fitted together. It is sort of pathetc. As a jewish person, I’d rather not have one than see these low rent Chabad affairs in our plazas. Maybe Olafur Eliasson could design us a fitting gigantic menorah (preferably one that sprays salt water on the nearby trees). and Bloomberg could pay for it, and Markowitz could guilt him into siting it in Brooklyn.

  • Topham Beauclerk

    A grouch? Perhaps; but then there’s quite a lot to be grouchy about. I object to a frightfully ugly menorah of colossal size sitting for more than a week on a prominent site and to the lazy use of the word official to designate a cult object. This laziness, which can have pernicious consequences, is responsible, to take another example, for people unthinkingly referring to Washington Cathedral as The National Cathedral. The US can have no national church.

    I wasn’t aware that the menorah is Chabad’s gift to Brooklyn: a typical bit of arrogant self-aggrandizement done on the cheap.

  • Ethan

    Actually, the sky is not the limit. According to Jewish law a menorah has to adhere to certain rules in order for it to remain “kosher”. All the candles (except the middle one) has to be in a straight line and, among many others, it cannot be higher than 30 feet. Of course they make them higher but they’re not kosher. If Raskin wanted the highest menorah he could have afforded the 20 bucks in PVC piping and wood. He hasn’t done that for a very good reason – it wouldn’t be kosher.