Miracle of Lights in the Night Sky
Chanukah launched with a spectacular drone show in the night sky over LifeTown in Livingston on December 7. A countdown set the stage as 150 drones rose into the air. Flying in sync, loaded with LED lights, they swarmed into the sky in a synchronized, choreographed dance, creating a series of images and patterns in brilliant color.
A spinning dreidel, a Maccabee, a Menorah, an oil jug, even the Temple took shape, as a child narrated the story of the miracle of Chanukah. Cheers erupted as the drones proclaimed formed messages: “Love IDF”, “Love Israel,” and “Am Yisrael Chai” in English and Hebrew letters.
As each image took shape, murmurs of wonder floated through the crowd of over 1500. “That’s so cool!” said Carl Rosenzweig. “Beautiful! I’ve never seen anything like that!” said Jacob Appleson.
For Adi Ben Bohar and her family, the evening was a highlight of their unexpected weeks-long stay in New Jersey. From Lehavim, Israel they were in the US on October 7 and decided to stay. While they loved each image, particularly those involving Israel and the IDF, she said, “We loved just being all together for the holiday with such a big group, with our hearts all in the same place, looking for light.”
Hot latkes took the chill off the cold evening. Participants found donuts, water, glow sticks, even hand warmers, waiting for them on every chair.
Talia Snyder came with her baby, Kira, looking for community. She particularly loved the atmosphere, the large crowd, the “amazing” show, and was happy it didn’t snow!
“What we are seeing in Israel and around the world is how we as Jews respond and gain strength when we are put under pressure,” Rabbi Zalman Grossbaum, CEO of LifeTown and Friendship Circle, told the crowd, just before Jonah Eisenberg, former Friendship Circle volunteer who just returned from a tour of duty fighting in Gaza with the IDF, lit the menorah. “What we are witnessing today is just like the story of Chanukah: when our enemies tried to destroy us, they just ended up bringing out the best of who we are.”
Commenting on the size of the crowd, Rabbi Mendel Solomon of Chabad of Short Hills added, “That is how we respond to tragedy. That is how we respond to people who hate. We come out and we show love and light and Judaism and humanitarianism! What a great way to celebrate the first night of Chanukah!”
The LifeTown show, sponsored with Chabad of Short Hills, concluded with a shower of chocolate gelt into the crowd.
On the way back to their car, Carl decided his favorite image was the dreidel. His mom, Dara Rosenzweig, loved the Friendship Circle logo lighting up in the sky at the end. Overall, she said, “it was amazing. “They just really know how to create a great atmosphere. It was a really fun way to start Chanukah.”
The show was produced by Celestial Drone Shows from Florida, whose expert team has designed extraordinary drone light shows around the world.
“What better way to come together and celebrate Chanukah – the festival of lights – than by transforming the night sky with a cutting-edge technology drone light show,” added Rabbi Grossbaum. “As a little light dispels much darkness, our hope is that these lights will help uplift, enlighten and inspire everyone to add their own light of goodness and kindness to the current dark feeling in the world.”