On the sixth day of Hanukkah, the world’s largest menorah was lit by celebrity guests.
The mammoth, 36-foot structure erected in Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza was first ignited on Dec. 10. The festivities have continued each evening, drawing onlookers and special guests for all of the candle lighting observances. On Dec. 15, the famed Guardian Angels arrived amongst a whole host of socially distant attendees to watch the ceremony.
Special guests John Catsimatidis and Sid Rosenberg joined Rabbi Shmuel Butman in helping light the candles by riding a platform into the night sky. Rosenberg, a famed radio personality and co-host of The Bernie and Sid in the Morning Show, used a blowtorch to relight four of the previous nights’ candles while Catsimatidis, the owner, president, chairman, and CEO of Gristedes Foods and radio host, accompanied the Rabbi at the center of the menorah where they both addressed the crowd after kindling the Shamash–the middle candle.
“New York is the greatest city in the world and we have to maintain it,” Catsimatidis told amNewYork Metro after returning to the ground. The excitement from participating in the lighting and looking down from almost forty feet in the air was still fresh on his face. “You feel like you are closer to God up there,” he added.
This holiday season will be a bittersweet one for Rosenberg. While dealing with the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 will also forever be the year his father passed away. Still, the radio host is choosing to look forward with positivity, even going so far as to remark that this holiday season could be the most important he has ever observed.
“It’s important for me to light the menorah because of my dad. My dad was a very religious man who grew up in Coney Island in Brooklyn, and we celebrated Hanukkah. My dad passed away in July, and it’s been a very difficult year for me outside of COVID and the business going on in America and losing my father was a heartbreaker. His picture is on my cell phone, and when I was up there 36-feet high, I took out my cell phone and I said ‘Dad take a look at this.’ So my hope is that he is smiling in heaven right now. So this for me is the most special Hanukkah I ever celebrated,” said Rosenberg.
The Guinness World Records’ breaking framework has been decked out with striking LED lights throughout the trimming of its eight branches to honor the over 30,000 New Yorker lives lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to commemorating the year’s somber moments, this new addition to an annual event was also intended to light the way to a brighter 2021, reining in a more hopeful and positive year.