Musicians, leaders ‘shine a light’ on antisemitism with NYC Hanukkah lighting

Confirmed guests include comedian M.C. Ariel Elias, the cast of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish and TikTok influencer Montana Tucker.

PEOPLE DEMONSTRATE against antisemitism and in support of Israel at a rally in New York City’s Times Square in May. (photo credit: REUTERS/DAVID 'DEE' DELGADO)
PEOPLE DEMONSTRATE against antisemitism and in support of Israel at a rally in New York City’s Times Square in May.
(photo credit: REUTERS/DAVID 'DEE' DELGADO)

Jewish musicians and city and state leaders are set to attend a Hanukkah menorah lighting in Times Square on Monday night, the second night of the Jewish holiday, to raise awareness of the rise in antisemitism.

The second annual event, known as the "Shine A Light" menorah lighting, will be jointly organized by UJA Federation of New York, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, AJC New York, the Anti-Defamation League and the NY Board of Rabbis.

 The World's Largest Menorah is set up by Chabad-Lubavitch in New York City ahead of Hanukkah, on December 15, 2022. (credit: CHABAD) The World's Largest Menorah is set up by Chabad-Lubavitch in New York City ahead of Hanukkah, on December 15, 2022. (credit: CHABAD)

"Antisemitism is intensifying," the organizations said in a joint statement. "Our efforts to fight it must be even stronger. Nearly one out of every four Jews in the US experiences antisemitism. It’s become normalized across our culture — on social media, in pop culture and politics, and on the streets. This Hanukkah, shine a light to dispel the darkness and to say: enough is enough. In the heart of New York City, we’ll publicly display our Jewish identity as we light the menorah together and raise awareness about antisemitism." 

“Our efforts to fight it [antisemitism] must be even stronger. Nearly one out of every four Jews in the US experiences antisemitism.”

Event organizers

The event is part of the "Shine A Light" initiative which highlights the threats of antisemitism through education and advocacy.

Special performances and synchronized displays on Times Square’s billboards will be featured at the event, which will begin at 5 pm. 

Confirmed guests include comedian M.C. Ariel Elias, the cast of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish and TikTok influencer Montana Tucker. 

125% increase in NYC antisemitic hate crimes in November

The Times Square lighting takes place as antisemitic hate crimes across New York City's five boroughs more than doubled last month from a year ago, New York Police Department (NYPD) data revealed. The concerning rise unfolded against a backdrop of high-profile figures making headlines for remarks targeting Jews.

There were 45 hate crimes motivated by antisemitism in November versus 2020 in November 2021, according to the NYPD data.

Last week, federal, state and city leaders gathered to discuss the the surge of antisemitism, at a forum hosted by the Orthodox Union in Manhattan. During the meeting, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the initiation of a new statewide task force to combat antisemitism.

The event at Lincoln Square Synagogue on the Upper West Side focused on combating hate and enhancing security in Jewish communities. New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer and US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas condemned the rise of antisemitic attacks. 

Haley Cohen contributed to this report.