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6:21 PM in New Brunswick, NJ
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Friday, 1 Oct 2021
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Chabad brings light to Route 1 with menorah
by Chris Murino, Sentinel
SOUTH BRUNSWICK - Sen.-elect Bill Baroni, Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein, Police Chief Ray Hayducka, South Brunswick Mayor Frank Gambatese and Veterans of Foreign Wars Commander Al Kady all joined the Chabad of North & South Brunswick at its annual menorah lighting on Monday, at the Monmouth Mobile Home Park on Route 1.

Rabbi Mendy Carlebach and about 20 others braved the cold, rainy conditions to celebrate Hanukkah and brighten up the highway.

"The idea of Hanukkah is spreading the light," Carlebach said. "And Route 1 is a great place to do that."

Carlebach said that the main goal of the menorah lighting is to spread the meaning of Hanukkah throughout the town.

Ira Eisenstein and Rosemary Dente came out for the first time and enjoyed themselves.

"We need to see more of this kind of thing," Eisenstein said. "All these people talking against public displays of religion - it's nonsense."

"We want to support the rabbi, support the congregation," Dente said. "He's done a lot of good for the community."

Nechuma Carlebach said that it was a great night for getting out the message of Hanukkah, despite the weather.

"It's outdoors and it's public," Nechuma said. "It's a chance for the message of Hanukkah to be heard by all, which is the victory of light over darkness, of spirituality over materialism and of the miracle that occurred. The spirit of what was going on didn't let the weather affect it."

Christopher Carbone, the director of the South Brunswick Public Library, came to represent the facility and take part in this town event.

"The library tries to provide services and things to people of all different backgrounds in the town," he said. "I came to represent the library, and as part of the community."

Greenstein, Baroni, Gambatese and Kady made short speeches. This is the fourth year that the event has taken place and Greenstein has been to each one.

"This clearly is the season of light, even though it's dark and cold," Greenstein said. "That's what we have to do all our lives, bring a little light into the darkness."

Baroni agreed.

"This has been a wonderful tradition here in South Brunswick Township and we need more and more of that," Baroni said.

It also happened to be Baroni's 36th birthday. The rabbi talked about 18 meaning "life" or chai in Hebrew and 36 meaning double chai. Gambatese spoke about the good things the rabbi is doing for the community.

"Since he's been rabbi, you can see a change in the atmosphere of religion in town, whereby everybody comes together no matter what religion they are," the mayor said.

Kady, although he is not Jewish, recently learned that he has some Jewish blood on his grandmother's side.

"It's very interesting to me, I'm very interested, even in other religions," he said. "We all believe in God. It's very nice."

After the speeches were completed, the mayor lit the candles on the menorah, shining its light for all of Route 1 to see. The group then convened inside for refreshments, including potato latkes.



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