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Ridgewood Celebrates Hanukkah With Third-Annual Menorah Lighting

From left: Ridgewood Councilwoman Gwenn Hauck, Rabbi David Fine, Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld, Mayor Paul Aronsohn, Ridgewood Guild President Tony Damiano.
From left: Ridgewood Councilwoman Gwenn Hauck, Rabbi David Fine, Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld, Mayor Paul Aronsohn, Ridgewood Guild President Tony Damiano. Photo Credit: Gwenn Hauck

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — More than 300 people gathered in Ridgewood's Van Neste Square to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah on a brisk but clear Sunday night.

Rabbi David Fine of Temple Israel led the crowd in blessings and songs.

Erecting a Christmas Tree near the train station has been an age-old tradition in Ridgewood, but this is only the third year that the Village has included a menorah, Fine said.

"Ridgewood has grown from when Jews and other minorities were under-welcomed to be a completely inclusive community," said Fine, pointing to the ordinance adopted by the council in 2013.

The ordinance — spearheaded by residents Esther Zuckerman, Nicole Cohen, Lara Harelick and Michele Opper in 2012 — allows public religious displays within the central business district.

"It's very important and symbolic for Ridgewood to celebrate Hanukah as well as Christmas," the rabbi said.

The menorah will remain in Van Neste Square for the seven remaining nights of Hanukkah.

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