Schenectady celebrates festival of lights with ‘Chanukah on Jay’

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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – December is a time of celebration for many religions. For the Jewish people, Sunday marks the final day of Hanukkah and to celebrate, the city of Schenectady hosted the first ever “Chanukah on Jay”.

“We’re expecting over 600 people at this event today. So it’s a big event. It’s just amazing to have so many of the Jewish community, as well as the wider community to learn about Hanukkah,” says Schenectady County legislator Michelle Ostrelich.

Chanukah on Jay was not just an exclusive event for the Jewish community. Melissa Lawler says she and her son, who is not Jewish, wanted to find out what the final day of Hanukkah is all about saying, “it’s pretty special he [her son] is learning a lot about it in school so it’s fun to come out and see something different.” 

The event featured live music, games, traditional food such as latkes, jelly donuts, and even gelt, a chocolate coin that was dropped from a Schenectady fire truck.

Hanukkah dates back at least 2,000 years. It celebrates light overcoming darkness; which after nearly two years of a global pandemic, some say is much needed.

“Hanukkah is a celebration, one of our many holidays we celebrate throughout the year that celebrates a miracle and honestly is about giving,” says Jane Ginsburg, president/CEO of the Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York, “it’s a beautiful way to celebrate having something exciting happen to others and then turning it into giving something to others.” 

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