NEW CITY, NY -- Rockland celebrated Hanukkah with the lighting of a menorah on the steps of the county office building in New City Tuesday.
Youngsters from the Chabad Hebrew School of New City sang songs.
County Executive Ed Day and Clarkstown officials, including George Hoehmann and Frank Borelli, took part in the event.
"We are so lucky to live in the wonderful country of the United States of America that lets all faiths practice their religion openly and freely," said Rabbi Simcha Morgenstern, who led the ceremony.
Hanukkah, also called Chanukah, is a Jewish holiday commemorating the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire.
As the Hanukkah story goes, a tiny bit of oil used to light the Temple's menorah miraculously lasted eight days; that's why the holiday is celebrated for eight days.
The menorah was placed near a crèche that was put in front of the building to mark Christmas.
This year Hanukkah, which started on Sunday, Dec. 25, and Christmas overlapped, the first time in nearly 30 years.
Both celebrations fall on the 25th of the month. The difference is that, while Christmas always occurs on Dec. 25 based on the Gregorian calendar, the Festival of Lights falls on the 25th day of the ninth Hebrew month of Kislev.