Countless menorahs were lit all around the world, but the fourth day of Hanukkah was special for Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy students.
During school hours, academy student body and faculty stood side by side with their arms spread around their friends shoulders to celebrate Hanukkah on Wednesday, Dec. 21 with special guest appearances by elected officials as well.
Returning from their trip to Israel, Bronx borough president Vanessa Gibson, and U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres lit the fourth candle of Hanukkah with Rabbi Bini Krauss, the academy’s principal.
The celebration was accompanied by traditional Jewish music by professional performer, Netanel Katz of Simcha on Wheels.
“Be who you are,” Torres said. “Wear your Judaism proudly for the rest of your life because you are the future, you are the next generation of leadership, you are the future members of Congress, you are the future borough president. Just don’t run against us. Let us age peacefully in public office and then run.”
According to Krauss, Torres has celebrated the Jewish festival of lights various times this year.
“We want to shine a light on the entire borough of the Bronx, a light of peace, a light of love, a light of family, a light of community we are so thankful to be here,” Gibson said.
“I want to thank the entire team at SAR for what they do every day instilling in all of our young people the education that all of you need to be the next generation of leaders as easy as I am your Bronx borough president. Guess what, you can do the same thing.”