Bayside community gathers to light the menorah at Bay Terrace Shopping Center as part of Hanukkah celebration

The Bayside community celebrates Chanukah with the annual menorah lighting at Bay Terrace Sunday (photo by Paul Frangipane)

The Chabad of Northeast Queens held a lighting for Bayside’s Grand Menorah on Dec. 18 at the upper level of the Bay Terrace Shopping Center in celebration of the first night of Hanukkah.

State Senators John Liu and Toby Ann Stavisky, Assemblymen David Weprin and Edward Braunstein and Councilwomen Sandra Ung and Vickie Paladino were also on hand to celebrate the ceremony.

Rabbi Yossi Blesofsky lights the menorah at the Bay Terrace Shopping Center on Dec. 18. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

“Now in 2022, we are still facing the forces of darkness,” Chabad of Northeast Queens Rabbi Yossi Blesofsky said. “There are senseless wars throughout the world as we speak. Antisemitism has reared its ugly head in an unprecedented way, as shocking as that is … the forces of light will overcome the darkness. The candle represents the little spark of God within every human being. If we could all light our own little candle, then automatically the forces of light and goodness will spread throughout the world, will push away the darkness.”

The Bayside community celebrates the first night of Hanukkah on Dec. 18. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

In addition to the lighting, there were several other sources of entertainment featured at the event. Guests enjoyed latkes, hot apple cider and chocolate coins, participated in a grand raffle and saw performances from a children’s choir.

In addition to Rabbi Blesofsky, several of the elected officials in attendance spoke at the celebration.

A performer puts on a fire show at the annual menorah lighting at the Bay Terrace Shopping Center on Dec. 18. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

“The Hanukkah message of using your inner strength to overcome adversity certainly rings very true this year,” Councilwoman Ung said. I’m ever grateful that the Jewish community and the Asian American community stand together against hate.”

“The whole theme in this time of the year, are the lights,” Stavisky said. “The lights that bring us together … the light of Diwali for the South Asian community and Kwanzaa, the Christmas trees — this is what brings us together.”

Assemblyman David Weprin speaks at the menorah lighting. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

“This year is particularly significant because of the surge in antisemitic incidents and the rise in antisemitism,” Weprin said. “May these lights of the menorah shine bright and be a symbol against antisemitism.”

Additional reporting by Paul Frangipane.