An electric guitar rang out across the amphitheater of the Boca Center shopping complex Monday night as members of southern Palm Beach County’s Jewish community gathered to celebrate the second night of Hanukkah.
After the annual lighting of the giant menorah by rabbis from congregations throughout Boca Raton and Delray Beach, "Rock n’Roll" Rabbi David Paskin took the stage with his electric guitar. Rabbi Josh Broide joined him on drums. Together, the two led the crowd – which organizers estimated at about 2,500 people – in song.
The event was hosted by PJ Library in South Palm Beach County, a division of the county Jewish Federation that mails free Jewish books and music to families every month. Elana Ostroff, the PJ Library chapter’s director, said the organization has given out more than 100,000 books to children in south Palm Beach County.
Robin Cremer said opening new packages of books is a highlight of her kids’ month. She brought her two children and their grandmother — whom they call "Gaga" — to the event.
“Being Jewish, and being with all these people, and this singing — the energy that’s here is just so amazing,” she said. “It’s just so nice to get together with the community and come together as one.”
Maren Mayer said her three kids have been getting PJ Library books “since they were very small.” Her oldest is now 13.
“We love the programming, we love the books, we love the music,” she said. Her son Akiva added: “It’s so fun!”
Aside from music and story time, the event featured tables from local Jewish organizations where kids could build Lego menorahs, decorate dreidels, spin a prize wheel and pick up candy.
Rabbi Greg Weisman brought his daughters – wearing shirts that said “Shine Bright Like A Menorah” – along to the event, where he helped light the giant menorah.
For him, the event provides a little variety to the eight-day holiday.
"One of the beauties of Hanukkah is you can do a lot of different things – some family, some community and some in other groups, and still have wonderful things to do each night,” he said.