Lighting of the 32-foot-high, gold-colored, 4,000-pound steel menorah took place last night at the Grand Army Plaza (Fifth Avenue and West 59th Street, across the street from The Plaza hotel). The event kicked off the annual Jewish Festival of Lights. The menorah is billed the world's largest, and is the work of Israeli contemporary artist Yaakov Agam. The menorah has nine genuine oil lamps, eight for the straight menorah branch, and one for the helper candle.
Hanukkah is a celebration of the historic victory of the Jews against the Syrian-Greek regime that was a threat to Jewish life. When the Jews entered Jerusalem and their Holy Temple to light the menorah, the small amount of oil used miraculously lasted eight days and nights.
The Empire State Building top tiers are lit in blue/white/blue in honor of Hanukkah. The New York City metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish community outside Israel. Happy Hanukkah!