.Roaring Camp’s Holiday Lights Hanukkah Train Rolls In

The Boardwalk also lit its Menorah

On Dec. 7, Roaring Camp’s Holiday Lights Hanukkah train rumbled back to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk with steam rising in the chill winter air.

Revelers climbed down from the vintage cars and coaches, saying goodnight to each other and to Rabbi Menachem Geisinsky who carried a large tin of potato latkes, a traditional treat. 

Rabbi Geisinsky summed up the spirit and intention of the night. 

“It’s a beautiful celebration of the community, we get together and have a great time,” he said. “It’s a good way to add light and warmth and kindness to the world.”

Some of that light is given by the flame of candles on a Menorah provided by the Boardwalk association, part of a tradition that began 11 years ago.  

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Every year since, for one night of the season, the Menorah lighting, prayers, singing take place at the Boardwalk. The lighted words “Happy Chanukah”  and pictures of dreidels decorate the sides of the train that rolls past the Victorian houses of Santa Cruz’s Historic Downtown.

Sam Rudolph was there with his family, who had just come from seeing daughter Dorothy’s performance as Little Red Hen in Aptos’ Orchard School play.

“This was our first year, we loved it. And free potato pancakes, I’m not saying no to that!,” he said. “We can’t wait to come back next year.”

Chabad’s Rabbi Yochanan Friedman explained why he found the event important to attend.

“Jewish people have a lot of holidays,” he said. “But Hanukkah is the time we’re encouraged to share the light, to spread the miracle. The miracle is that there’s a part of our souls, a spark inside of us that won’t go away. Everybody should celebrate that. This is a holiday that’s really for everyone.”

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