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Queens Celebrates 'Thanksgivingukkah' With Latkes and Menorah Lighting

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | November 27, 2013 8:39am
 Chabad of Rego Park organizes the annual public menorah lighting.
Chabad of Rego Park organizes the annual public menorah lighting.
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Chabad of Rego Park

QUEENS — The Jewish community in Rego Park and Forest Hills will celebrate Hanukkah, beginning at sundown Wednesday, with a variety of events, including a concert and a public menorah lighting.

The Young Israel of Forest Hills will be hosting its first ever "Thanksgivingukkah" party, on Dec. 1 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

"It will be mainly Hanukkah oriented, but there will be some Thanksgiving accents, too," said Saul Holcman, youth director at Young Israel, adding that the two holidays rarely occur at the same time.

The celebration will be held at Young Israel’s youth building, at 68-07 Burns St., where latkes — potato pancakes traditionally made for Hanukkah — and cookies will be served. There will also be music and crafts for children, Holcman said. Admission is $5 or $18 per family of four or more.

A few dozen people are expected to gather on the same day at the annual menorah lighting organized by Chabad of Rego Park. The 16-foot menorah is usually lit with the help of a cherry picker, the center said.

The ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. at the corner of Queens Boulevard and 67th Drive (at Federoff Triangle). Latkes and doughnuts will be offered to participants at the event and there will be a live performance of traditional music, the center said.

Rep. Grace Meng and Queens Borough President-elect Melinda Katz are also expected to attend, according to Chabad of Rego Park.

Also on Dec. 1, at 2:30 p.m., the Rego Park Jewish Center, at 97-30 Queens Blvd., is inviting residents for a concert of Magda Fishman, an ordained cantor, who will sing a variety of songs, including a selection of liturgical music, Broadway tunes and jazz music (tickets are $12). The center will also serve latkes with apple sauce.

The nearby Forest Hills Jewish Center is organizing a Hanukkah “Lights and Latkes” party on Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. There will be songs and storytelling for children and a latke buffet will be served.

Participants should bring their own menorahs for a communal candle lighting, the center said. The event is free to members and $5 for non-members (free for children).

Local Jewish delis are also preparing for the celebration. The popular Ben’s Best Deli in Rego Park will serve three varieties of latkes — including sweet potato and zucchini ($14.95 a dozen). "We'll also have “meshugah latkes,” turkey or brisket sandwiches between two latkes with gravy on the side," said Richard Mestika of Ben's Deli. The sandwich will cost $9.95, he said.