Dozens of families and children from the nearby temple, located at 62-38 99th St., gathered in the park while Rabbi Eli Blokh led the lighting ceremony.
"In ancient times, our ancestors rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem with the menorah,” Blokh explained. “Today, we rededicate ourselves to making this world a better and brighter place.”
While Rabbi Blokh and the Chabad of Rego Park used the ceremony to commemorate the holidays, this was also the third year he honored a social volunteer.
Harry Bieber of Woodside was recognized for his journey in 1947 to Israel to fight in the War of Independence.
“At 17, he joined a group of youths who fought in the war,” Blokh said. “A lot of people volunteer and that’s good, but there are always some people who go above and beyond.”
Children were given hot latkes and donuts following the lighting ceremony.
Congresswoman Grace Meng said she was happy to see the turnout and praised the temple for their work in the community.
“It’s wonderful to be here and celebrate with the community,” Meng said.
Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz remembered lighting the oversized menorah with the temple back when they first began their tradition years ago.
“I think it’s wonderful and I think we’re very fortunate to have Rabbi Blokh here to celebrate Chanukah with us and with the community,” Koslowitz said.
Melinda Katz, the newly elected Queens borough president, said she too has been celebrating the holiday with Chabad of Rego Park for several years.
“Chabad does a nice job of bringing the community together all across the borough of Queens,” Katz said. “The great thing about it is that all the kids come out to celebrate with us. We’re really passing it on to another generation.”