The Bridge Multicultural & Advocacy Project Hosts Three Joyous Holiday Events in Style - The Jewish Voice
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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The Bridge Multicultural & Advocacy Project Hosts Three Joyous Holiday Events in Style

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Masks and social distancing strictly observed 

By: Fern Sidman

As 2020 draws to a close in a truly unprecedented year, celebrating the holidays in a festive and joyous manner takes on even more significance this year due to the multitude of hardships that we all faced as a result of the raging coronavirus pandemic.  Particularly cognizant of the fact that a vast majority of people are suffering from depression, social isolation and array of financial challenges, the Bridge Multicultural & Advocacy Project in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn decided to forge ahead by hosting three holiday candle lighting events as well as other Christmas and Chanukah celebrations that have become synonymous with The Bridge at holiday time.

Mark Meyer Appel, the founder and president of The Bridge said, “Despite the fact that we are living in the midst of a nightmarish pandemic, the holidays are traditionally a time of unity, love and commitment to bringing an abundance of joy to the world. This year especially, we knew that the people we serve desperately needed a festive atmosphere to be as well as being surrounded with caring individuals who could make a huge difference in their lives. So, we decided to go ahead with our holiday parties while scrupulously adhering to the restrictions placed on us by the virus. We all celebrated while wearing masks and practiced social distancing.”

From left to right: Rabbi Shlomo Segal, Mark Meyer Appel, Councilwoman Farah Louis and Joel Eisdorfer


Appel added that The Bridge has continued to fulfill its long standing commitment to the community through the sponsorship of a well stocked food pantry where community members were free to take as much food home as they needed for the holidays.  Community activist Ezra Pean sponsored a “Holiday Giving Back Project”  at The Bridge to provide clothing and supplies to the youth of the communities that they serve.

Moreover, the Bridge serves as a hub of information where community members can receive advice and guidance from professionals in dealing with the health crisis that continues to plague us.

As the new year and holiday season was fast approaching, the dedicated staff at the Bridge launched three holiday candle lighting events to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Chanukah and the great miracles associated with it. One such celebratory holiday candle lighting event was hosted by Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and Brooklyn Councilwoman Farah Louis. Both public officials lit the beautiful menorah and shared the story of a nation’s ancient battle against an oppressive and bigoted tyrant.

Members of The Bridge holding a food distribution drive

District Attorney Gonzalez reminded the assemblage that tragically, all forms of bigotry and racism still exist in our society.  He said that it is morally incumbent upon each of us to continue the battle to vanquish these age old prejudices as we work in together in unison to foster a more tolerant society in which true and equal justice reign supreme.  Councilwoman Farah Louis called for a new commitment in the fight against all forms of bigotry and anti-Semitism.

For thousands of years, the menorah lighting on Chanukah has become symbolic of a public celebration of Jewish freedom from the tyrannical rule of the Assyrian-Greeks. It was these Hellenistic oppressors    who sought to blot out the spiritual existence of the Jewish nation through draconian religious prohibitions.

The Chanukah tradition has its origins in the Talmud. The text tells a story about how the Maccabees discovered a very small flask of oil that could only last enough to light the menorah in the synagogue in Jerusalem for one day. The small amount of oil, however, ended up lasting for eight nights, in what the Jews described as a miracle from G-d. The story of Chanukah also speaks of the defeat of the racist regime of the Assyrian-Greek king named Antiochus and his might armies. The Maccabees who courageously led the uprising against Antiochus, then went on to restore the Temple in Jerusalem to its former glory.

Highlighting the strength, resilience and infinite love of the community that the Bridge serves, Appel said that we all look forward to start of a new year filled with joy, peace and harmony in 2021 with the eradication of the pandemic that has engulfed our lives.

Margarette Tropnas, community leader and board member of The Bridge hailed the holiday events as a great opportunity to celebrate our freedoms and to be thankful  for what we as a community has achieved; namely unity and love.

Addressing the joyous events were many of Brooklyn’s diverse leaders including Apostle James Duncan, Josh Melhman of the Flatbush Jewish Community Council,  Rabbi Shlomo Segal, Rabbi Avrum Hecht, Gil Cygler, Joel Eisdorfer, MargaretteTropnas and Carol Elias.

Apostle James Duncan addressing Chanukah festival at The Bridge





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