Hundreds of families flooded the Kings Bay Y Sunday afternoon for the annual Chanukah Extravaganza. The event included bouncy castles, dance, art, and music lessons, as well as a raffle, a very messy donut eating competition, and a menorah lighting ceremony.
Young children swarmed through the building, dueling with inflatable balloon sabers, lining up for the rides, and posing with some of the costumed characters roaming the gymnasium where the menorah lighting was held. Many of the candles were lit by members of the UJA Federation, A Jewish philanthropic organization that partnered with the Kings Bay Y this year by sending scores of volunteers to help with the event.
“To have a thousand kids and their families show up from around the neighborhood for this is so awesome,” said David Rothman, the chair of the UJA Volunteer Committee. “This is such a great cause.”
Leonard Petlakh, executive director of the Kings Bay Y, noted that the free celebration was open to the entire community and presented an opportunity for everyone to join in the holiday spirit with their Jewish neighbors.
“Chanukah commands us to rally to light through the darkness,” said Petlakh. “I love the diversity here. You have people celebrating with us, both Jewish and non-Jewish. And this is a critical moment to produce a message of unity and happiness in the light of what has been going on in the world.”
The event also drew elected officials Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and City Councilman Alan Maisel.
“You can see by the crowd here how important the Kings Bay Y is for the community,” said Weinstein. “This is fun for the children. It’s wonderful that people can be here and you couldn’t ask for a nicer day.”
Rafayel Mizrahi who was watching his young son play in one of the bouncy castles said he was happy that his family could come to the Kings Bay Y to celebrate the holiday.
“It’s a wonderful way for the kids to have fun and enjoy the celebration,” he said.