Chanukah, the festival of lights, comes to life each year in Cote Saint-Luc. Chanukah decorations, both store-bought and child crafted, adorn front windows and doors and the Chanukah Menorah candles – electric, oil and wax – are prominently displayed in windows.
Rabbi Mendel Raskin of Chabad CSL has been promoting public candle lighting in front of City Hall for 25 years since 1998. I’m happy to have participated in just about every one of these ceremonies all of these years.
The candle lighting was followed by a bright and boisterous parade of vehicles with illuminated Chanukah Menorahs atop the cars and minivans, and even one limousine. An impressive escort of police, public security and vCOP vehicles flanked the procession as it departed from City Hall to loop the city spreading the light of the Menorahs and festive music.
Another gem in the fabric of Cote Saint-Luc is Rabbi Moishe Reikhtman and his Jewish Russian Youth Centre. Located at Cote Saint-Luc Road and Robert Burns the centre welcomes the sizable Russian Jewish Community in the area, particularly those with young families, teens and young adults.
Rabbi Reikhtman is an extraordinary individual who is outgoing, personable, compassionate and even educationally entertaining. He and is dynamic wife, Ayelet, have created a warm, welcoming environment to the Russian community. Their festive and spirited gatherings each holiday in the centre are packed with Russian speakers from the West End.
Beth Zion Congregation’s Reverend Yitzchak Rosenberg was on hand for last night’s lighting of the giant Menorah at City Hall to sing the blessings. Reverend Rosenberg has been a mainstay on the local liturgical scene for decades.
The involvement of so many leaders from local synagogues has helped to make Cote Saint-Luc a strong and vibrant community. The participation of so many residents is a wonderful experience. Mayor Anthony Housefather and the entire City Council was invited to the stage by Rabbi Raskin to officiate over the lighting of the candles by Councillor Steven Erdelyi who was hoisted in the city’s “cherry-picker”.
Rabbi Raskin told the crowd that the lights of the Menorah would spread peace and goodwill too all people of all religions. Mayor Housefather rejoiced in the upbeat spirit of the holiday and wished all residents well for a joyous holiday and a wonderful new year.