Since 1985, Chabad of Park Slope has lit a menorah at Army Plaza each night of Chanukah, with elected officials, NYPD commanders, or community member receiving the honor of lighting the menorah each night.
For the first time ever, an NYPD commander not only lit the shamash, as is customary with non-Jews lighting the menorah, but said the brachos and lit all of its candles.
NYPD Assistant Chief Michael M. Kemper, who is Jewish from birth, received the honor on Tuesday night, along with Mr. John Abbamondi, CEO of BSE Global – the parent company of the Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets – to the excitement of the large crowd that had gathered to witness the historic event.
Mr. Abbamondi lit the menorah’s shamash and was followed by Chief Kemper, who recited the brachos and lit the candles.
On his Facebook page, Chief Kemper wrote, “Lighting the BIGGEST Menorah in Brooklyn (maybe even the world?) was a tremendous honor & experience of a lifetime.”
As NYPD Assistant Chief, Mr. Kemper is currently the highest-ranking Jewish member of the NYPD.
“History was made tonight,” said Rabbi Shimon Hecht, who has been sponsoring “Brooklyn’s Largest Menorah” for over 35 years. “May the Menorah light be with these two prominent chiefs to guide them and protect them. I bless them that their lives be illuminated as they have illuminated the world.”
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