An overflow crowd of over 20,000 joined Florida’s largest Chanukah festival with singer Mordechai Shapiro, making the event the largest in its 42 year history.
By Joseph Obermeyer
Photo: Mendy Mish
In a pleasant shock and surprise to people from all over the world, and from all walks of life, an overflow crowd of Chanukah Festival participants and cars packed every parking lot in the Big Easy Casino. Even the west side of the Casino, which is a half mile from the stage, had many car Menorahs.
The four Big Easy Casino massive parking lot holds thousands of cars, many with the people remaining all night in or near their cars and tailgating. Thousands of chairs in this Hybrid Chanukah Festival were packed with people of all ages, plus a standing room only crowd enthusiastically sang and danced for two and a half hours, in what was by far the largest Chanukah Festival in history.
Over 20,000 men, women and children, from all over Florida and from all over the world, rocked the night away, in the most lively and well attended South Florida Chassidic Chanukah Festival ever.
Many in the crowd were without yarmulkas, many were traditional and modern Orthodox, plus there was a huge contingent of Litvishe and Chassidishe joining in the enormous Kiddush HaShem and Kiddush Lubavitch.
Mordechai Shapiro, a charismatic and most popular Jewish Music Superstar, filled with a joyous and earnest personality, drew an enormous, exciting and energetic crowd, many who actually flew in for the Mega Chanukah Event.
Rabbi Chazzan Yossi Lebovics, principal of Florida’s Chaya Aydel Seminary, led in the singing of the Brochos on Florida’s Largest Menorah, and Maoz Tzur.
The Menorah lighting was very uplifting and emotional, as candles were dedicated to Reb Tzvi and Itty Ainsworth z”l, and all those who perished in Surfside, to the young Tzviky Fellig, z”l, and to Mrs. Miriam Fellig, z”l.
Government leaders who joined in the Menorah lighting included: Dr. Barbara Sharief, Broward County Commissioner, Commissioner Linda Anderson from Hollywood, and Florida State Representative Robin Bartleman. Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy issued a proclamation in honor of the 42nd Annual South Florida Chassidic Chanukah Festival.
Rabbi Raphael Tennenhaus explained the connection of Zos Chanukah to Moshiach, thanked all Festival participants, all Festival organizers, all Festival sponsors and VIPs that made this watershed moment in Pirsumei Nisa unfold in front of so many people in person, and an additional tens of thousands watching on Chabad.org.
Credit for this explosive growth in attendance goes to the Rebbe, who gave Rabbi Tennenhaus a Brocha that the Chanukah Festival should grow every year as the lights of the Menorah grow each night.
Rabbi Eli Phillips served as an eloquent MC. Dinner Committee included: Dorit Antian, Event Coordinator, Mrs. Chana Eliyahu, Rabbi Moshe Schwartz, Rabbi Mordy Feiner, Rabbi Mendy Tennenhaus, Rabbi Yossi Lebovics, Rebbitzen Goldie Tennenhaus and the young women of the Chaya Aydel Seminary, who were very helpful in many Chanukah events held in South Florida. A special shout out to event photographer Mendel Mish.
3,000 children received gift bags that included many Chanukah goodies including real Chanukah gelt and a Chanukah magazine for kids. Hundreds of Menorahs and Chanukah guides were distributed.
The simcha continues Monday night with Rabbi Adi Goodman leading a Farbrengen, at 8PM, Motzoei Zos Chanukah, open to men and women, on the subject of Chanukah and Chinuch, and how to draw the joy, the warmth and the light of Chanukah into the entire year.
A new class for women also is being launched on Zos Chanukah, by Rebbitzen Goldie Tennenhaus, entitled: The Well of Miriam – in memory of Mrs Miriam Fellig, z”l.
South Broward Chabad had some 30 Huge Chanukah Programs, including the lighting of 7 giant Menorahs at Fort Lauderdale Airport, led by Rabbi Eli Eckstein.
You can watch a replay of the Chanukah Festival, and other festival videos here, and you can still partner and participate in this Chanukah Event that ignites Yiddishe Neshamos like none other, by logging on to: Chanukahfestival.com.