On December 10, the first night of Chanukah, Congregation Toras Emes, located in the Oakwood section of Staten Island, held its annual menorah lighting at Richmond Town’s NetCost Market. “This year’s Chanukah celebration is a bit dampened, with many people sadly feeling a sense of loss. Chanukah and the traditional menorah lighting is the solution. It gives us the spirt and courage to persevere as we struggle with the pandemic. The flames of the menorah give us the optimism that there will be a better and brighter tomorrow. If we keep our faith and focus on helping each other as we are, I am confident we will get through these hard times,” stated Rabbi Yochanan Ivry, rabbi of Toras Emes.
Rabbi Ivry thanked Eddy Schneiderman and Arthur Gavierlov, owners of Netcost Market, as well as the store manager, Iryna Pereyaslavtseeva, and staff at the Staten Island NetCost store for hosting and sponsoring the Toras Emes annual menorah lighting. Rabbi Ivry thanked Maritza Estrin for sponsoring all of the children’s Chanukah gifts! Rabbi Ivry thanked the Toras Emes volunteer team of Rebbetzin Sterna Ivry, Esther and Yeshaya Rodruiguez-Sanchez, Mendel, Chaya, Zalmy, Ella Ivry, and Bella Usubov for their hard work in helping to make the menorah lighting possible.
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, president of the Staten Island Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island and executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim, was honored with lighting the menorah. Rabbi Mirocznik commented, “There is hardly anyone in the world who has not suffered spiritually, emotionally, physically, or financially during this sad time of COVID. People are in pain and need to be uplifted. The ancient flames and spark of the menorah is that solution. These flames kept the spirit of the Jewish nation strong, and these lights are giving us the courage to continue and we will overcome these challenges. I pray that the Al-mighty have mercy and that next year’s celebration will be festive and this pandemic will be nothing more than a memory long defeated.”