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NYC Councilman David G. Greenfield had the privilege of lighting the world’s largest menorah in Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza on the fifth night of Hanukkah, and used the opportunity to condemn the recent anti-Israel vote in the United Nations Security Council.
The menorah, which stands several stories tall and requires the use of a cherry picker hydraulic crane to reach the candles, was erected by Rabbi Shmuel Butman of New York’s Chabad Lubavitch community. Each night, the candles are lit by a prominent leader in the New York Jewish community, prayers are said, and remarks are given.
In light of the blatantly anti-Israel vote that had been taken just days prior in the United Nations, Greenfield chose to reaffirm American support for Israel in his remarks. After expressing thanks to Rabbi Butman, Greenfield noted that “Just a few blocks from here stands the United Nations,” and condemned the international body for passing “a resolution that condemns Israel for the fact that it ‘occupies’ Jerusalem.”
“Let me tell you an interesting fact,” Greenfield said, pointing out that his grandfather, Rabbi Yisroel Zev (Velvel) Mintzberg ztz”l, had been the chief Ashkenazi rabbi in the old city of Jerusalem until the Jews were expelled from the old city by the Jordanians in 1948. “No matter what the UN says, no matter what the Greeks said, no matter what the Syrians said — thousands of years later, there’s only one civilization that has been around, that has endured, that will continue to endure, and that is the Jewish people. And tonight, we light a candle not just for us, but for all the people around the world and we send a very clear message: Am Yisroel Chai!” The crowd of hundreds of onlookers chanted back, “Am Yisroel Chai!” The ceremony was viewed live on Periscope by over 25,000 viewers around the world.
“The sheer chutzpah of the United Nations to designate the Jewish community, who has been living in the Old City of Jerusalem for thousands of years, as ‘settlers’ is astounding,” Greenfield said in continued remarks after the ceremony. “What’s truly shocking is that the Obama Administration would allow this outrageous resolution to pass and then have the audacity to trot out John Kerry to blame Israel. Boruch Hashem, we have survived lot worse than slander and we will we survive this too.”
After the ceremony, Greenfield thanked all the people who made the Menorah lighting event possible: “I want to thank Rabbi Butman and the Lubavitch Youth Organization for their work in putting this wonderful event together,” he said. “I would also like to thank Con Edison and the New York City Parks Department for their support and assistance.”
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)