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Brooklynites to Celebrate First Night of Hanukkah

Menorah lighting ceremonies at Borough Hall and Grand Army Plaza planned.

Elected officials will join residents and religious leaders to usher in the first night of Hanukkah with menorah lighting ceremonies in Downtown Brooklyn and Grand Army Plaza.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be present at the lighting of what he called the world's biggest menorah at Grand Army Plaza. The ceremony will begin at sundown—traditionally the beginning of the first night of Hanukkah, which lasts eight days.

Not to be outdone, Borough President Marty Markowitz will lead the at Borough Hall at 5 p.m. The ceremony will be officiated by Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin and includes holiday refreshments and musical performances.

The event at Borough Hall is just the latest in a string of holiday-themed events happening this week. Earlier today, Markowitz presided over the distribution of toys and books to needy youngsters gathered during the Borough Hall Annual Toy Drive.

In a statement, Bloomberg cast the holiday celebrating the triumph of the Maccabees and the restoration of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in terms of the struggles many recession-weary New Yorkers were faced with today.

"It’s a celebration of faith and courage, reminding us to never lose hope, even in the toughest of times," Bloomberg said. "That’s a message we can all take with us into the New Year."

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