The Boro Park Jewish Community Council, with help from Heritage Levavot and Haym Salomon Homes, celebrated Chanukah virtually on Tuesday, with more than twenty thousand people watching on several different Jewish websites.
The annual party is held for and in honor of the neighborhood’s Holocaust survivors, and is full of food, entertainment, and socializing.
The BPJCC has held in-person Chanukah parties for several years, but this year, they and many of their partner organizations realized an in-person event was too risky during the coronavirus crisis. Nonetheless, the BPJCC knew how important their annual celebration was for the elderly survivors they serve.
Said Avi Greenstein, the CEO of the BPJCC, “We’re not going to let COVID take away from the simcha of Holocaust survivors who..look forward to this the entire year….we were not going to not less this happen, especially in a time of COVID. Baurch Hashem, the technology exists. And at the BPJCC, the effort exists, and the care, the heart exists with our team.”
A program for teenagers and adults with intellectual disabilities that often helped BPJCC with food distribution volunteered to help, and young men with special needs packaged an elaborate gift of donuts, CDs and other treats to be delivered to the survivors.
Senator Simcha Felder, City Councilman Kalman Yeger, and Assembly Member Simcha Eichenstein delivered messages to the audience in a nonpolitical, personal capacity.
“I just wanted to wish all our precious survivors a Freilichin Chanukah,” said Eichenstein. “You are the bedrock of our community, and only because of you, and the sacrifices that you made, are we here today. A community flourishing, filled with chessed and tzeddakah, because of your unwavering commitment,” he said. “Happy Chanukah to each and every one of you, and I look forward to celebrating with you in the near future.”
Entertainment and inspiration included speaker Rabbi YY Jacobson, Holocaust survivor Mrs. Chaya Rubin with a message of strength, comedian Yoeli Lebowitz, the Yingerlach Boys Choir, comedy skits, a donut decorating presentation with Mrs. Ruchele Honig, and much more.
Greenstein told Hamodia the event was a huge success. Holocaust survivors have been lonely and scared during the coronavirus, most stuck in their homes and rarely seeing their children and grandchildren. The event brought them joy and connection. He and the BPJCC team have received dozens of grateful emails, messages, and even letters from survivors and their families.
Greenstein said he hoped others knew more about how lonely and sad survivors have been, and how important bringing happiness to their lives is.
“[Right] now with the challenges of COVID, the ones suffering the most from this are our precious Holocaust survivors. And so, when Chanukah comes in the time of light and time of miracles and celebration, it is such an such a joyous moment for us at the BPJCC, to be able to provide such a wonderful form of entertainment and simcha to the lives of our dear Holocaust survivors. And I’m deeply humbled by my incredible team. The most devoted team at the BPJCC, my directors and all of us for putting in an extraordinary amount of effort and time in ensuring this to be the most beautiful successful event that it was, Baruch Hashem.”
“COVID cannot put us down, no obstacles can put us down if we have our hearts to helping our Holocaust survivors, bringing simcha in their lives,” concluded Greenstein.
Updated Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 1:14 pm .