Woodstock, NY

Woodstock Invites Entire Town to Chanukah Celebration

Bryce Gruber

Residents of Woodstock and the broader Ulster County community were treated to a Chanukah celebration yesterday.

In honor of the first night of Chanukah, residents of Woodstock, NY and the broader Ulster County areas including Kingston, Phoenicia and Saugerties were treated to a candle lighting ceremony and festive fanfare in the town's center last night.

Woodstock Fire Department throwing gelt and spreading joy at Chabad of Woodstock and Chabad of Ulster County's annual menorah lightingPhoto byBryce Gruber

Just before sundown on Sunday evening, the first of the eight nights of Chanukah, locals gathered around the Village Green to share traditional holiday music, jelly doughnuts, warm latkes, hot cider and activities for local children. It was everything you could ask for in a kosher event, minus the bottles of sugary-sweet Kedem wine, of course.

Local Woodstock Fire Department members and volunteers added charm by throwing gelt from the top of their fire engine to amazed children below.

"It's really nice to come out and be with the Jewish community," shared one Ulster County resident in attendance with a small child. "I moved here from the city during the pandemic, and it's hard to connect to neighbors as much as I did when I lived in Park Slope. The rabbis and their families here do such a good job of making Chanukah and other holiday parties to get the community together."

The menorah lighting ceremony in Woodstock's center drew over 120 peoplePhoto byBryce Gruber

The entire Chanukah celebration and candle-lighting event lasted about an hour despite sub-freezing temperatures. The Village Green saw as many as 120 participants and even more onlookers by about 4 p.m., when the town's giant menorah was having its first candle lit. To top things off, the bracha, or blessing, was even recited by one of Woodstock's own firemen.

Woodstock fireman leading the Chanukah blessings for the crowdPhoto byBryce Gruber

"I've been going to the Chabad of Woodstock since they opened a few years ago," said an older gentleman and party reveler. "They do what they can to make everyone feel at home, and coordinate this event with the Chabad of Ulster County in Kingston each year. It's nice to see everyone gathered again after a scary few years. I'm grateful for Rabbi Mendy and his family for growing our Jewish community."

Local Jewish residents across the Ulster County area and visiting tourists are encouraged to reach out to their local Chabad centers for additional updates on festivities, happenings and community events. Find a complete list of Chabad centers and locations here.

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Bryce Gruber covers women's lifestyle content and news ranging from shopping to travel, beauty to parenting, wellness and delicious eating. Find her at @brycegruber on social media, and across a variety of women's lifestyle and parenting topics at TheLuxurySpot.com, Readers' Digest, Bravo, Parents.com, Martha Stewart, and on your TV screen through national talk shows including The Tamron Hall Show. She lives and works in New York's Hudson Valley with her five small children.

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