2007-11-30 / Community

Far Rockaway Holiday Symbols Missing

Hanukkah Menorah And Kwanzaa Kinara Nowhere To Be Found
By Miriam Rosenberg

Hanukkah is fast approaching and Christmas and Kwanzaa aren't far behind. Yet, a Christmas tree may be the only visible sign of the holiday season standing in the middle of the Far Rockaway Shopping District this year. That's because the symbols that mark the Jewish and African-American holidays are nowhere to be found, The Wave learned this week.

The Menorah and Kinara, which have stood with a Christmas tree in the triangle of Mott and Central Avenues to celebrate the holiday season for the last few years, are missing.

"It [the lighting ceremony] was tentatively scheduled for December 3 or 4, but we can't find the Menorah or the Kinara," said Jonathan Gaska, the district manager of Community Board 14. "We looked for [them] about six weeks ago."

According to Gaska, Teresa Scott, of the Coalition for Far Rockaway and Harvey Gordon, the executive director of the Jewish Community Council of the Rockaway Peninsula, they have searched in several places where the items may have been stored without any success in finding them.

Misplaced? Lost? Stolen? The Hanukkah Menorah and Kwanzaa Kinara, which have stood side by side with a Christmas Tree in the triangle on Mott and Central Avenues in the Far Rockaway Shopping District for the last nine years, are nowhere to be found. Misplaced? Lost? Stolen? The Hanukkah Menorah and Kwanzaa Kinara, which have stood side by side with a Christmas Tree in the triangle on Mott and Central Avenues in the Far Rockaway Shopping District for the last nine years, are nowhere to be found. "We're coming up blank," said Gordon.

While the 101 Precinct did keep the Menorah for a couple of years, they didn't store it at the end of the holiday season in 2006.

"We put out the Menorah [last year], but we never picked it up," said Officer Juan Nunez of the precinct's community affairs unit, who said the 101 had no idea who took the items down and stored them.

On Wednesday, Gordon told The Wave that as the holiday season was ending last year, discussions were taking place about alternatives to having the police hold on to them.

"We tried to work on it," said Gordon. "All of a sudden it [the Menorah] was gone."

While no one knows who removed the items at the end of the 2006 holiday season, both Gaska and Gordon say they believe the items were not stolen.

"We just have to find [them]," said Gordon.

The JCCRP executive director said it is possible to have a new Menorah, which was originally provided by JCCRP, and Kinara (which was donated) made for next year.

Gordon said that, while the lightings for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are canceled, there is still a possibility of having a Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

Although she doesn't know if there will be an official lighting, Valerie West of RDRC and the Deerfield Civic Association said the tree would be decorated.

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