The holiday season in Bay Ridge just got a little brighter.
Dozens of people lit candles for the second night of Chanukah at the Bay Ridge Jewish Center on Nov. 9, at the center’s big annual party celebrating the festival of lights.
Attendees loaded plates with latkes, bagels, and sufganiyot, and sang traditional Hebrew songs, while children munched gelt, spun dreidels, listened to religious stories, and made sand art and Play-Doh menorahs.
Loren Levinson, acting administrator for the center, said the bash was part of the organization’s bigger program of cultural outreach to the local Jewish community — which includes not just older residents, but also an increasing number of young families.
“It’s truly a multi-generational event,” said Levinson, noting that the age range at the gala stretched from two months to older than 90.
“We’re definitely growing, and it’s very important to us that we design and host a lot of events not just for our older dues-paying members but for those who aren’t members of our synagogue yet.”
According to Rabbi Dina Rosenberg, at least one family of newcomers are refugees from Hurricane Sandy staying in Bay Ridge.
“We are thrilled to be able to welcome anyone affected by Hurricane Sandy into our warm and caring community,” she said.
Rosenberg added that despite the recent disaster, there was an overwhelmingly positive atmosphere surrounding the holiday festivities — which commemorates the miracle of a one-day supply of holy oil burning for eight nights.
“It was filled with lots of laughter, squealing of children, crying of newborns, making of new friends, and reconnecting with old friends,” the religious leader said.