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Brooklyn Brandeis Society celebrates Hanukkah during annual party

December 15, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Brooklyn Brandeis Society met on Tuesday for its third annual holiday party, where it also celebrated the birthday of Justice Ellen Spodek. Pictured from left: Lucy DiSalvo, Hon. Ellen Spodek and Andrew Fallek, president of the Brandeis Society. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese
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The Brooklyn Brandeis Society hosted its annual Hanukkah party on Tuesday in Brooklyn Heights, where members met at the Brooklyn Bar Association building for lunch and a bit of a history lesson on the holiday.

“It was a great turnout for our annual Brandeis/Hanukkah event,” said Brandeis Society President Andrew Fallek. “It brings me great pleasure to see members and non-members as well. It makes me happy that we are able to cross cultural and religious lines.”

The Brandeis Society was officially formed in November 2014, which makes the group just a little over 3 years old. It’s still one of the smaller bar associations in the borough, which boasts bar associations that are more than 100 years old, but it is constantly growing. Tuesday’s luncheon was one of the biggest events in its history with more than 60 people in attendance.

Stil, Fallek would like to see a stronger turnout at events.

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“It makes me so happy to see that every event is a little bit bigger than the last,” Fallek said. “But no holiday would be complete without a little Jewish guilt — many of our members missed our last program, a viewing of the documentary “My Italian Secret,” which was a great, great program.”

That event, which was also sponsored by the Columbian Lawyers Association and the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Kings County, showed producer Vincent Marmorale’s documentary “My Italian Secret” on the secret history of Italians protecting Jewish people during the Holocaust.

At Tuesday’s party, guests were treated to lunch and Rabbi Hanniel Levenson from Congregation Mount Sinai gave a brief history lesson on Hanukkah.

“I know the story that we like to talk about: the story of oil that lasted eight days, it was a miracle, but that’s not true,” Rabbi Levenson said. “During the time of winter solstice there is the least amount of light … the surrounding cultures all lit bonfires so there was an opportunity to take this whole fire holiday and bring it into the Jewish practice and so we light lights.”

Rabbi Levenson informed the mixed crowd that the idea of Hanukkah is to spread light in the darkness.

“In a very dark time, not just outside, but the current climate feels like it is getting a little bit darker as well. It is our job to bring a little bit of light to Brooklyn, to New York City,” he said. “We light one candle each day and the candle light grows and grows. We can be that light, we can help other people find their light and be a source of light, of love. That’s the spirit we must bring.”


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