Niles Celebrates Hanukkah With Giant Menorah, Dancing, Donuts

Rabbi: whether you're Jewish or not, 'be a mensch' (good person). Dancing, juggling and fried foods highlighted the party.

Written by Pam DeFiglio, Patch.com

As about 25 people stood shivering in Monday night's cold, Rabby Naftoly Hershkovich warmed them with his words, just as the giant menorah behind him broke the darkness with five bright lights. 

Speaking about the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah on the fifth of its eight nights, he said, "It's a universal message to do good. A little small light will conquer the whole big darkness." The ceremony took place on Greenwood Avenue in Niles. 

Hershkovich, of the Chabad and F.R.E.E. of Niles Jewish congregation, exhorted the small crowd that whether you're Jewish or not, "Be a mensch," using the Jewish word for a good person.

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The crowd then entered Niles Nursing Home, 9777 N. Greenwood, where latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly donuts) awaited for a Hanukkah treat. Michael Perl of Skokie, the nursing home's director, who is Jewish and is a friend to the Niles congregation, arranged for the festivities to take place.

The rabbis and some of the other men did celebratory dancing. High school aged boys who are rabbinical students at Lubavitch Mesivta of Chicago, a rabbinical boarding school, arrived at the celebration to dance, juggle and enjoy the party.

Rabbi Eliezer Hershkovich, who is Rabbi Naftoly's son, explained that the boys do outreach in the Niles area during Hanukkah, knocking on doors where they see a menorah or other indication that the home is a Jewish home, and bring Hanukkah greetings to the residents.

"It's about spreading the light," Eliezer Hershkovich said. "That's why we have that big menorah out there on Greenwood."

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