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‘Fire on Ice’ in Blue Back Square Puts the ‘Cool’ into Chanukah

Brad Hoffman lights the ice menorah as Alan Lazowski (left), Eric Zachs (right) and Rabbi Joseph Gopin look on. Photo Credit: Judie Jacobson

Hundreds braved the frigid temperatures Sunday night to gather in the courtyard of West Hartford’s Blue Back Square for the 10th annual ‘Fire on Ice’ Chanukah celebration hosted by Chabad of Greater Hartford. 

By Judie Jacobson

The crowd of hundreds watched in awe as a master ice carver crafted a giant menorah from a massive block of ice, which was then lit by several members of the community to mark the sixth night of the Festival of Lights during the “Fire on Ice” Chanukah celebration in Blue Back Square Sunday.

Before fire met ice, however, the lit torch made its way down a line of five people, as it was passed from hand to hand, from one generation to the next. The torch was handed first to 95-year-old Ben Cooper who as a World War II combat medic participated in the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, and was passed along through the “generations” to Charna Kaufman, Zach Marcus, Scott Steinmetz, and Rebecca Samuels.

The poignant ceremony culminated in the lighting of the Chanukah candles by community leaders Rabbi Philip Lazowski and his son Alan Lazowski, Bradley Hoffman, and Eric Zachs.

Rabbi Shaya Gopin, Chabad educational director, led the festivities, which was highlighted by live entertainment by the Rogers Park Band, an olive-pressing workshop, a Chanukah gelt drop (with help from the West Hartford Fire Department), 3-D dreidel printing, raffles, refreshments and, of course, lots of singing and dancing.

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“Fire on Ice” candle lighters (l to r) Eric Zachs, Alan Lazowksi, Brad Hoffman and Rabbi Philip Lazowski, with Rabbi Joseph Gopin, spiritual leader of Chabad House of Greater Hartford. Photo Credit: Judie Jacobson

The Chicago-based band, Rogers Park, entertains at the “Fire on Ice” Chanukah celebration. Photo Credit: Judie Jacobson

An 8-foot menorah was carved out of a block of ice by a master ice carver. Photo Credit: Judie Jacobson

Fire and Ice dreidel. Photo Credit: Judie Jacobson

Lighting the ice menorah were (l to r) Eric Zachs, Alan Lazowski, Rabbi Philip Lazowski, and Brad Hoffman. Photo Credit: Judie Jacobson

Zach Marcus, a former IDF soldier, passes the torch of Jewish continuity to Hall High student Scott Steinmetz. Photo Credit: Judie Jacobson

Brad Hoffman lights the ice menorah as Alan Lazowski (left), Eric Zachs (right) and Rabbi Joseph Gopin look on. Photo Credit: Judie Jacobson

Kids learned all about olive pressing at “Fire on Ice” Chanukah celebration. Photo Credit: Judie Jacobson

Chabad volunteers Pat and Michael Kazakoff help out at the “Fire on Ice” Chanukah celebration. Photo Credit: Judie Jacobson

Fire and Ice raffle winner. Photo Credit: Judie Jacobson

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