More than 100 Palmetto Bay residents —adults and children alike — gathered for a gala Hanukkah celebration in and around the Coral Reef Park gazebo on Sunday, Dec. 13.
Rabbi Zalman Gansburg, Rabbi of Chabad of Palmetto Bay, officiated at the candle-lighting ceremony, with Mayor Eugene Flinn, Vice Mayor John DuBois and Councilmember Karyn Cunningham bringing official greetings from the community.
The large Minions-themed menorah, filled with adorable Minions balls and blue and yellow Laffy Taffys, set the tone for the afternoon’s festive activities.
Councilmember Cunningham commented on the theme, saying she thought “Minions” was a play on the word “minyan,” the 10-man quorum required for public prayer services. Chabad of Palmetto Bay holds a minyan every Shabbos, followed by a tempting kiddush lunch, open to all in the Jewish community.
The afternoon’s activities began with an olive oil press demonstration that had the audience enthralled by a fascinating, hands-on presentation of the way olive oil is prepared. Both children and adults were drawn in by the captivating stories and humor during the show.
With rousing holiday music in the background, the children enjoyed a variety of stimulating activities, including Minions and Hanukkah-themed crafts, a bounce house, games and door prizes. Traditional holiday delicacies of latkes (potato pancakes) and doughnuts were served and dozens of menorahs, dreidels and Hanukkah gelt (chocolate coins) were distributed. To cap off the event, the Minions menorah was opened at the end of the party and all the balls and taffies spilled out to the delight of all the children, who gleefully snatched the loot.
The focus on the children held a deeper significance, as well — signifying the year of Hakhel, when all the Jews — both young and old, including children and babies — would make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem once every seven years to hear the Torah read publicly by the king. As this year is a Hakhel year, the children of the community, in a fitting tribute, presented the mayor with a beautiful picture of Jerusalem.
For information about future community classes and events visit www.JewishPalmettoBay.org or call 786-282-0413.