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What a day! What a crowd! A whirlwind week for the Jewish community

Friday, 3 January, 2020 - 4:30 pm

What a day! What a crowd!

A Wonderful Wonderland

Dear Friends,     



What a day! What a crowd!

Our biggest ever Chanukah Festival in the park! A MASSIVE crowd came together to celebrate and share the Chanukah spirit of friendship, happiness and peace.

Jewish pride was visible in great numbers everywhere. Throngs of happy people filled Cambier Park completely to experience Winter Wonderland and participate in what might have been the largest Chanukah gathering ever in Naples. A rough estimate of attendees was 1200 people! We were happily shocked to see such a massive turnout!

G-d was definitely watching over us,  holding back few heavenly sprinkles until it was time to leave,  but surrounding us with the best weather to enjoy the day.

Naples Mayor, Bill Barnett kindled the Giant Ice Menorah; sharing in the fun & festivities, Naples Preschool of the Arts & Chabad of Naples Hebrew School students performed & volunteers manned the many booths where children made Chanukah arts & crafts and of course, enjoyed the many delicious holiday delicacies! 

 The snow, the rides, the food and all the activities brought many compliments and even the ice Menorah hung in there without melting too quickly.

Many thanks to our Naples Police Department and Fire Departments whose presence as always is most welcome.

Thank you to our incredible team of staff, volunteers and sponsors for making this large-scale event possible. And thank YOU to every one who joined us for enhancing our incredible Chanukah festival.

Ettie Zaklos and I feel so blessed to be a part of the Naples community and are so excited to see how our festival has grown over the years to the huge event we all enjoyed yesterday evening.


It has been a whirlwind week for the Jewish community. We've witnessed the worst possible hate and the most inspiring love. We experienced vicious antisemitic attacks and we responded with an outpouring of unity, solidarity and concern.

We are all now asking the obvious question: "Is this the new normal?" 

While we don't have a definite answer to that question, we Jews are very well primed in how to respond. Aside from the obvious need for extra security and vigilance we must also send a strong message: Anti-Semites and hate filled people will never dictate or define who we are as Jews, or how we practice our Judaism.

We are Jews and we are proud! If we hide that fact, and cower in fear, then they have won the battle! 

We must not let them be victorious. Ironically, the very story of Chanukah demonstrates this message. The Jews refused to let the Greeks dictate their Judaism. They fought back against the tyranny. We need to increase in our Jewish pride at this time and never retreat! 

Here are a few ideas:

1. Get yourself a Mezuzah. The mezuzah is the Jewish spiritual security blanket and every Jewish home and business should have one. Please contact me to help you purchase one and have it posted.

2. Educate yourself. Become a more knowledgeable Jew! Buy a Jewish book for yourself or another, as the saying goes "knowledge is power"! (feel free to reach out for suggestions).

3. Go to Shul. Strengthen your Jewish identity and join with community on Shabbat.

May G-d bless us that 2020 be a much better year for Jewish people everywhere.

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos


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