New York may have its Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but on Saturday evening, Dec. 4, Mercer County will be the site of central New Jersey’s first Hanukka parade.
The holiday procession-on-wheels — a line of vehicles topped with large menoras — will wind through four towns, Ewing, Lawrenceville, Princeton, and West Windsor, on the fourth night of the eight-day festival.
“It’s going to be a beautiful program that will inspire Jewish pride in whoever sees it,” said Rabbi Dovid Dubov, director of the Mercer County Chabad, which is sponsoring the event. At a meeting with his fellow Lubavitcher religious leaders during the summer, he said, “we decided we wanted to do something unique this year. It is really a joint effort.”
Coordinating the parade are Chabad-Lubavitch religious leaders from throughout the county, including Dubov and his wife, Malka, codirector of the Chabad of Mercer County; Rabbi Shmuel Dovid Wilhelm and his wife, Mushky, of Chabad’s Friendship Circle; Rabbi Eitan and Gitty Webb of the Chabad of Princeton University; Rabbi Yitzchak and Dina Goldenberg of the Chabad of Lawrenceville; Rabbi Kivi and Zeesy Greenbaum of the Chabad Center for Jewish Life at the College of New Jersey in Ewing; and Rabbi Sholom and Aliza Leverton of the Chabad of the Windsors in West Windsor.
The parade, accompanied by a police escort, will be led by a limousine carrying children of the Friendship Circle, Chabad’s program that matches special-needs youngsters with teen volunteers. They will be followed by about 20 cars with the nine-branched holiday candelabrum affixed atop them. Chabad will provide menoras, Dubov said, for anyone interested in joining in the parade.
Children of parents participating in the rolling procession “can ride in the car with them and wave to the crowd,” Dubov said. Being part of the parade will give youngsters “a real sense of Jewish identity.”
The parade will begin on Olden Avenue in Ewing at 7:30 p.m. and go onto Princeton Pike before turning onto Route 206 by Interstate 95 in Lawrenceville. It will continue to Nassau Street in Princeton, where it will wind down Harrison Street and Valley Road before swinging back to Nassau Street and onto Washington Avenue, and then down Route 571 through West Windsor. It is will end at the Chabad of the Windsors, at 1300 Windsor Road, where a menora-lighting ceremony and gala Hanukka party will be held at about 9 p.m.
Those interested in participating in the parade should contact Chabad no later than Nov. 20; call Chabad of Mercer County at 609-252-0124 or any of the local participating Chabad centers.