On December 4, Chabad of Toluca Lake Jewish Center kicked off the holiday season with its annual Grand Menorah Lighting in the Chase Bank parking lot on Riverside Drive. The family-friendly event included a live theatrical performance of the Chanukah story, children’s crafts, hot latkes sponsored by Trader Joe’s and coffee provided by The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. New this year was the impressive 10-foot LEGO menorah, constructed on site.
Among the honored guests were Michael and Beth Shader and Edie Chortkoff of Milt & Edie’s Drycleaners, which helped sponsor the event and also hosted a coat drive to collect winter clothing that would be distributed through Hope of the Valley to community members in need. “Tonight is about spreading the warmth and spreading the light,” Rabbi Moishe Carlebach declared in his opening remarks.
As always, Fritz Coleman, honorary mayor of Toluca Lake, was on hand to help light the menorah. “I love coming to this event every year,” he said. “It gives the opportunity for the spirit to kind of permeate the neighborhood, and it gives people who are walking by or driving by an opportunity to see the joy. Every year it just makes me smile. It’s the official start of the holiday season for me. I’m so appreciative of my friendship with this community.”