Atlantic Seaboard NCSY, New York NCSY Set New Chanukah Guinness World Record

13 Dec 2012


Members of Atlantic Seaboard and New York NCSY lit 1,000 menorahs, together with members of the Stamford community.

Baltimore-based Atlantic Seaboard NCSY, together with New York NCSY helped set a new Guinness World Record this Chanukah when they united for the world’s largest menorah lighting event in history. Held at the Stamford Hilton in CT, 1,000 menorahs were simultaneously lit on the first night of Chanukah.

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Members of the local Stamford Jewish community joined teens and adults from the Atlantic Seaboard and New York NCSY regions.

According to Rabbi Jonah Lerner, Regional Director of Atlantic Seaboard NCSY, “There are no words to describe how meaningful and inspiring it was to watch more than 600 high school teens light Chanukah candles together — many of them for their first time. Earlier that day, as Shabbat came to an end, I spoke about how much potential each person has and the importance of standing up for what you believe in. Together, as we set a new record, we showed the world that Judaism is still relevant and important today.”

NCSY originated the idea to break the Guinness World Record after reflecting that just over a month ago, hundreds of our participants suffered greatly from Hurricane Sandy and encountered a variety of challenges disrupting their daily lives.

Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, Regional Director of New York NCSY, felt strongly that “this year’s NCSY Winter Regional menorah lighting must be more than just an ordinary menorah lighting. As the events of the last several weeks left so many in a state of both physical and spiritual darkness, the holiday of Chanukah — also known as the Festival of Lights — fortuitously provided an opportunity to ‘turn the lights back on’ for all the individuals and families affected by the storm. Thus, teens from throughout the East Coast came together for this moving act of persimui nisa (publicizing a miracle/mitzvah).”

Rabbi Lerner noted that “The event required tremendous amounts of logistical coordination, clever marketing, and more than 800 participants working in tandem. Any teen who needed a menorah or candles was provided with them in hopes that this would not merely be a once in a lifetime act, but would serve as a first in a lifetime opportunity.”

With the menorahs in place and live music ready to perform in celebration, Rabbi Lightstone took a few moments to set the tone for such a monumental occasion. He spoke of the Jews in the past that risked their lives to light; and he shared stories of inspiration by the current events in Southern Israel, where residents built menorahs out of shrapnel from rockets fired at their homes and schools.

Rabbi Rocky Caine, Assistant Regional Director of Atlantic Seaboard NCSY, expressed that, “The breaking of a world record was an opportunity for the teens of NCSY to take the ordinary first night of Chanukah and make it into something truly extraordinary. It was an event these teens will remember for a life time.”

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