In the Media

The First Night
-
TheBrooklynInk.com

December 06, 2007

It's 6 p.m. on the corner of Brighton Beach Avenue and Brighton 11th Street, and Lubovitch Rabbi Hershel Okonov is riding in a cherry picker. The sun has set and it's cold enough for the 50 Jews, mostly Russian, to see their breath as they watch the white ConEdison truck take him up, up, up to the top of a two-story tall menorah that stands in front of the Washington Mutual Bank. Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah and Rabbi Okanov is going to light the first candle.

Okanov's smile is hidden between his long white beard and his black, brimmed hat, as he waves to the crowd below. He points a large lighter toward what appear to be small gas lamps placed on the middle candle and again at the right end. As each flame starts, the people on the ground cheer and take pictures. A younger Rabbi plays music on a keyboard while women hand out Dunkin Donuts and free boxes of Hanukkah candles. A man in a puffy blue parka wanders through the crowd, pouring shots of vodka into clear plastic cups. The cherry picker lowers Okanov to the ground, and people walk up to him to shake his hand.

"Where are the potato latkes?" asks a man, "every year they hand out latkes, but this year it's donuts?" He is not pleased with the change.

The music continues and a few Lubovitch men dance in a circle with young children. But it is cold—very, very cold—and the crowd disperses within 10 minutes. Three Lubovitch men walk towards the subway, and as they cross Coney Island Avenue, a gust of wind blows the tallest one's hat into the intersection. He runs in front of a car to retrieve it, puts it back on his head and resumes his walk home. His friends laugh.

Back to Top

In the Media
 The First Night
Lubavitch.com
 The First Night
TheBrooklynInk.com
 Lighting A Fire In The Snow
The Jewish Press
 A Bar Mitzvah in Brooklyn
Lubavitch.com
 The Auspicious Reunion
The Jewish Press
 Russian Jews and The Matzah Factor
Lubavitch News Service
 Rambam Writings In Russian
The Jewish Press
 Congregants Welcome Torah Home
Bay Ridge Courier
 Festival of Lights Shines Over Borough
Courier Life Publications
 Congregants Rejoice In New Scrolls
Courier Life Publications
 Brooklyn Is Showered With Hanukkah Gelt
Courier Life Publications
 Russian F.R.E.E. Choir
Jewish Family Services
 Russians
Encyclopedia of Chicago
 Jan Peerce at Carnegi
New York Times
 Melting pot of Jewish film
Australian Jewish News
 Renewing ties with their religion
Jewish Independent
 Abiding act of faith
The Washington Times
 The Heroic Struggle
The Jewish Press
 The Kindest Cut of All
Urban Gazette
 A Welcome for Refugees
Daily News
 Hanukkah Festivities
The New York Times
 Freedom For the Free
Algemeiner Journal
 9 Russian Jews Baptized
The Jewish Press
 A Nine Year Old Hero
Algemeiner Journal
 Rite for Jewish Males
New York Times
 FREE Services Russians
The Jewish Press
 A Rally of Their Own
The Jewish Week
 Sept. 11: One year later
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
 Russian Jews find home at center
The Cincinnati Post
 Interfaith and FREE celebrate 10,000 bris mila
New Directions (Interfaith Medical Center)
 Helping Hands
New York Newsday
 The Cutting Edge
Baltimore Jewish Times
 Benefit Concert For F.R.E.E.
The Jewish Press
 Rite of Passage
Waverley Council Mayor's Column
 The 10,000th Circumcision
The Flatbush Life
Hebrew
 And it was in the days of Achashveyrosh - Hebrew
Kfar Chabad Magazine
 The FREE organization - Hebrew
Dedushka
 FREE Publishing House - Hebrew
Kfar Chabad
 From Russia to Brooklyn... - Hebrew
Haaretz
Yiddish
 Celebration 85 - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
 FREE opens New Synagogue in Brighton Beach - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
 3000 Russian Immigrats at Purim Celebration - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
 Dinner of Friends of Refugees - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
 FREE - Friends of Russian Jewry - Yiddish
Kol Boro Park
 Report on The Dinner of The Friends of Refugees - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
 Reb Nocum Preger is Honored at FREE’s Dinner - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
 Much dancing at a joyfulness celebration - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
Russian
 Gold Chanuka - Russian
Lechaim.ru
 Holiday for Torah in Crown Heights - Russian
Vecherniy New York
 Immigrants' Celebration - Russian
Novoye Russoe Slovo
 Yud Shvat - Russian
Novoye Russoe Slovo

About Us
F.R.E.E. Newsletter
Stay informed by subscribing to F.R.E.E.'s e-mail updates.
Site Tools
 
© 2003-2016 Cong. Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe. All rights reserved.