Car Menorah Parade Brightens Roads on Chanukah
It was hard to know who was more excited: the children who were piling into cars—carrying fresh doughnuts and a bag full of goodies—or the adults who were checking car roofs to make sure that their menorahs were securely fastened to the top before hitting the road.
“I have such joy when driving in this event,” says Menucha Libson of West Orange. “I’m originally from Russia, and there we never saw anything like this. It’s such a beautiful event. I like to be toward the front of the parade so I can listen to the Jewish music playing [from loudspeakers in the first car] as we drive.”
More than two-dozen vehicles took part in the procession, including a pickup truck that held an 8-foot menorah and led the hour-long car-menorah parade.
Sponsored by Chabad of Livingston, Short Hills and West Orange, the route wound its way from Suburban Torah Synagogue in Livingston through the towns of Millburn and Short Hills before arriving at its final destination: the West Orange Chabad House.
Similar car-menorah parades are held in cities and towns throughout North America, as well as in Israel, England and Australia. The very first car-menorah parade was held in the early 1970s in Brooklyn, N.Y., according to Chabad.org. In those days, the menorahs were bulky builds made from wood that used flares as a lighting source. Since then—and thanks to the proliferation of car-menorah parades worldwide—the menorahs have become lighter and much safer.
Among those participating in this year’s local event was Dell Sahl of West Orange, who has driven his car in the parade through Essex County since its inception. In fact, she says she only missed one year. Sahl even has a CD of Chanukah songs that was given out to drivers the very first year, and she replays it each season as she steers along the parade route.
“I love when we drive through downtown Millburn . . . I honk my horn, and people wave back,” says Sahl. “I’m just so into this. I love the parade; it’s so cool!”
The Goldstein family of Livingston had so much fun this year—their first time in the parade—that they are already thinking ahead to the 2017 event.
Says Ofra Goldstein: “The most important mitzvah of Chanukah is publicizing the miracle, and this is a great way to do it.”