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Universal Studios To Host Chabad Chanukah Celebration


“If it’s an event in L.A., it’s happening on CityWalk!” proclaims Universal Studios CityWalk website. Chanukah 2002, then, must be an event in Los Angeles, because this year Chabad of the Valley, Chabad of Conejo, and Chabad of Studio City are taking Chanukah to the busiest place in southern California: Universal CityWalk on the busiest day of the year, December 1st , expecting to draw some 25,000 people in all.

What began as Chabad of Studio City’s plans for a small Chanukah ice-skating event at the CityWalk’s rink, soon drew the attention and interest of CityWalk staff, who agreed to host a massive Chanukah celebration for six hours on Thanksgiving weekend. “People are very excited about this event,” says Rabbi Yossi Baitelman, Chabad representative to Studio City. “This marks the first time Chabad has come to Universal Studios, and people are thrilled to have such an event happening here,” he says.

From noon until 6 p.m., famous Jewish music bands and Jewish DJ’s flown in especially for the event will grace the main stage. The 18×22 foot Astrovision movie screen will feature footage of Chanukah with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and Chanukah celebrations worldwide. Kosher food, children’s crafts and various forms of Chanukah entertainment including clowns, jugglers and face painters, will transform this central meeting ground for Californians and visitors alike into a hub of Chanukah activity and light. Some six large Menorahs will adorn the Walk in addition to a fifteen-foot tall menorah off the main stage where the lighting ceremony will take place.

Dignitaries and celebrities, among them Gabe Kapler, an outfielder for the Colorado Rockies, and baseball player Adam Kennedy will officiate at a menorah lighting event to top all others. The celebration will recognize the American armed forces for their dedication to life and liberty, and will as well, pay tribute to the Israeli people who persevere in the face of so much horror and tragedy.

“Universal CityWalk is honored to serve as the location for Chabad’s
annual Chanukah celebration,” says Ron Herman, General Manager of Universal CityWalk. “We look forward to honoring the traditional Jewish holiday with a free afternoon of non-stop entertainment and the
ceremonial lighting of Los Angeles’ largest Menorah.”

Ever since Chabad put down roots here some 30 years ago, Chanukah has been a highly popular event for people of the Valley. Still, this year’s event is expected to raise Jewish awareness in an unparalleled way. As Rabbi Mordechai Einbinder, associate director of Chabad of the Valley, said: “Chanukah represents the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil. Judaism enjoins us to share this positive and enlightening message with the world at large and what better venue to do that than at the famed Universal CityWalk.”


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