Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Light ceremony on shortest day of year

Community gathers to celebrate Hanukkah and Kwanzaa
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  • Chuck Newman lighting one of the 15 candles symbolizing the dispelling of darkness from antisemitism and racism. (All photos by Dave Mueller)

  • NAACP President Priscilla Augustin lighting a candle.

  • Children from the LEAP (Learning Enrichment Activities Program) program of the Peekskill City School District.

  • The crowd braved the windy cold evening and had refreshments of coffee and donuts at the end of the ceremony.

  • Rev. James Perry of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church giving remarks and Priscilla Augustin of the NAACP looking on.

  • Mayor Vivian McKenzie also offered remarks with Rabbi Dana Bogatz of First Hebrew Congregation looking on.

  • Everyone was invited to join in singing songs that are familiar to members of the Jewish and Black communities.

  • Peekskill Councilwoman Kathie Talbot lights a candle while Assemblywoman Dana Levenberg looks on.

  • Rabbi Jennifer Jench of Temple Israel holds the microphone for Amy Hersh of her congregation.

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The wind and cold didn’t diminish the spirits of the approximately 75 people who gathered at Peekskill’s downtown gazebo last night to light 15 candles in honor of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.  The second annual Celebration of Light was coordinated by Charles Newman and the local Jewish community of First Hebrew and the Peekskill NAACP to dispel the darkness of racism and antisemitism in the United States.

Newman was the master of ceremonies and Bria the artist began the evening with singing “Lift Every Voice,” often referred to as the black national anthem.  It was a hymn written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson in 1900.

Amy Hersh of Temple Israel in Croton sang Light One Candle , originally performed by the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary and has become is a popular Hanukkah song.

The ceremony ended with Hersh leading a rousing rendition of “This Little Light Of Mine.”

About the Contributor
As a Peekskill native, Dave is thrilled to be working with the Peekskill Herald showcasing featured calendar events. A 1999 graduate of PHS, he remembers reading and enjoying the original weekly print edition of the Peekskill Herald every Thursday. He especially liked the political stories, local features and sports coverage when it was written by Peekskill Runner columnist Jack Burns who always managed to weave history into the running times. An avid hiker, he enjoys exploring the local trails as well as the concrete ones in his job as a conductor for Metro North Railroad. He’s a former teacher and co-founder of the Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park, where he frequently can be found with his Koda. He’s happy to be part of the Herald’s growth as the source of local news for Peekskill and looks forward to highlighting a few of many of the events and happenings in Peekskill and the surrounding communities. Reach Dave at [email protected]