On Monday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m., Chabad of Great Neck conducted a Grand Hanukkah Public Menorah Lighting at the LIRR station in Great Neck Plaza. Mayor Jean Celender lit the second night’s candle, along with one of Chabad’s Rabbis, Yoseph Geisinsky, and other special dignitaries.
Salomon Nehmad had the menorah built 43 years ago in honor of his mother, Fortune Cabani Nehmad, who passed away at the young age of 17, when Salomon was only 1 year old in Argentina, where he was born.
“This was the first outdoor menorah to be dedicated in the state of New York,” said Salomon’s proud daughter, Lynn Nehmad.
In 1972, Mayor Andrew Wurman began the Great Neck tradition by lighting the first candle on the giant menorah in Great Neck Plaza. The menorah has since been moved from its original location to the Great Neck train station.
When asked by community members whether they could contribute to the expenses associated with the annual menorah lighting, Salomon always refused and suggested that these generous people instead “donate the money to charity,” said his daughter.
A longtime member of Chabad, Salomon, who will be 84 on Dec. 27, moved to Florida 20 years ago. Lynn and her brother, Albert Nehmad, still attend the menorah lighting each year in memory of the grandmother they never knew.
Chabad’s Hebrew school children led the singing and dancing at the celebration, according to Geisinsky. In addition to music and dancing, there were doughnuts and prizes for all of the children in attendance.
The fifth candle will be lit tonight, Dec. 10, at Village Green.