IN NEW HAVEN
“It’s a holiday of lights, and this is a time in the world where we could use some more light,” said Joshua Levitt who, with his wife Amanda, brought their three children to a drive-in Chanukah party held on Sunday, Dec. 14 in a municipal parking in Westville Village.
Fifty carloads of families like the Levitts reserved spots at the annual event hosted Chabad of Westville. This year orgaizers made sure to keep the tradition going in a Covid-19-safe environment. As drivers pulled into the parking lot, they were handed goody bags filled with latkes and applesauce, jelly donuts and Chanukah gelt, and a flag that read “Shine your Light.”
Before lighting a giant menorah with a tiki torch, Rabbi Chanoch Wineberg, who organized the event with his wife Mushka., said, “Just look how all of you have shown up in your vehicles, and your vehicle turns into a haven where you can proudly enjoy a safe menorah lighting.”
The event wrapped up with families standing outside of their cars while social distancing, to catch chocolate gelt thrown by members of the New Haven Fire Department. Children wearing masks screamed with delight while grabbing handfuls of the treats.
Sarah Lalou, who attended last year’s event, said that the lighting this year was even more special. “You can feel in the atmosphere that everybody is happy to be here tonight,” she said. “It has an entirely new meaning this year because it’s happier and brings light into our lives.”
This article is an excerpt of an article by Courtney Luciana that appeared in from The New Haven Independent.
IN WEST HARTFORD
More than 1,500 people were on hand for the “Fire & Ice” Chanukah celebration hosted by Chabad of West Hartford in the parking lot of West Hartford Town Hall. An annual event, this year the party took an unusual turn – instead of gathering en masse in the center of Blue Back Square, it was moved to the Town Hall parking lot to accommodate the 420 vehicles filled with party-goers, in order to ensure a safe, COVID-free event. The evening shined a spotlight on our heroic health care workers, as Madison Kates, 12, a student at Chabad Hebrew school, delivered a Chanukah message comparing the lessons and inspiration of Chanukah to our health care personnel, and Dr. Adam Steinberg, vice president of Hartford Health Care, led a short a prayer for the health and well being of the community. Chasidic superstar Benny Friedman upped the energy with a joyous concert; and each vehicle received a kit with crafts, treats, prizes and more.
Said West Hartford resident Sandrine Sebag: “While we couldn’t gather physically together, …the message of Chanukah was deeply felt as hundreds of people sang from their cars to celebrate. Thank you Chabad for bringing light to our community and providing us with a message of hope during this difficult time!”
Preschoolers at Temple B’nai Torah Nursery School in Trumbull had fun celebrating Chanukah by playing dreidel, eating latkes and lighting menorahs!