By Stephen E. Lipken
Chabad of Pelham Rabbi Levi Groner and Modern Magician Devonte presented a “Chanukah Magical Spectacular” Theme at the Daronco Town House, 20 Fifth Avenue, Pelham on Sunday, December 17.
“We try something unique and different every year,” Rabbi Groner stated. “We began with an Ice Menorah. Last year we had a ‘glow in the dark’ Menorah; this year the theme was a ‘Magical Spectacular,’ with a Magic show as well as some exciting booths and crafts.
“What Chanukah is about is creating warmth and magic for one another in the sense that creating an experience is really magical, because when someone is in a dark moment, we light a candle. We light the Menorah for eight days, burning bright, striking to achieve a magical world of goodness, kindness and prosperity for everyone.”
Approximately 200 citizens from Pelham and as far away as Crown Heights, Riverdale and Brooklyn enjoyed the spectacular celebration.
The Daronco House resounded with the magic of Devonte, who changed a dollar bill into a hundred dollar bill and back, converted a straw into a long string emerging from his mouth; a wadded up piece of black paper became a pointed hat. He correctly guessed the name of an audience member’s favorite movie, Titanic and re-assembled a Rubik’s Cube behind his back.
In addition, there was a Chanukah Photo Booth; glitter art temporary tattoos; painting sun catchers and crafting “Fidget Dreidels.” There were abundant refreshments, including sufganiyot (Chanukah jelly donuts); latkes (potato pancakes); chocolate “coins” and hot drinks. A special fundraising raffle awarded prizes from local merchants.
Pelhamite Maurice Owen-Michaane commented, “This was a great event…In a diverse Town like this, it is great to have events like this for the children so they can recognize the diversity of people, traditions and religions in places like Pelham.”
As Rabbi Groner lit the oil lamps of a large Menorah on the Daronco House steps, he distributed a special program with Chanukah blessings, songs and special message from the late Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Schneerson,
“Moreover, the danger does not come from outside; it often lurks closer to home in the form of erosion of time-honored values…Needless to say, darkness is not chased away by brooms and sticks but by illumination…”