On December 22, Chabad of Toluca Lake Jewish Center celebrated the start of Chanukah with its annual Grand Menorah Lighting in the Chase Bank parking lot on Riverside Drive. The event featured food and fun for the whole family with breakdancing performances, arts and crafts, latkes, soup, doughnuts, and coffee courtesy of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. An exciting new addition to this year’s festivities was the “gelt drop” — attendees were showered with chocolate coins and other goodies that were parachuted down from the aerial ladder of a fire truck.
Rabbi Moishe Carlebach and his father, Rabbi Alex Carlebach, recited blessings before lighting the menorah. Fritz Coleman, honorary mayor of Toluca Lake, and other dignitaries were in attendance to offer words of welcome and holiday well-wishes to the community.
In addition to kicking off the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights, the event honored and gave thanks to Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters for their tireless work in protecting our communities, especially during fire season. The event also provided an opportunity to give back to the community. A coat drive was hosted in partnership with Milt & Edie’s Drycleaners, which collected gently used clothing to be distributed through Hope of the Valley to those in need.