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Brandeis Society hosts annual luncheon for Chanukah

December 18, 2019 Rob Abruzzese
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The Brooklyn Brandeis Society held its annual Chanukah luncheon and membership party in Brooklyn Heights on Monday as members gathered together to share latkes and donuts while a pair of rabbis shared stories of their common history.

Rabbi Hanniel Levenson, who attends nearly all of the Brandeis Society’s events, dedicated his lesson for the day to Hon. Jules Spodek, the late Brooklyn judge and father of President Hon. Ellen Spodek, who died in October.

From left: Rabbi Hanniel Levenson, Hon. Mark Partnow, Hon. Lawrence Knipel, Avery Okin, Steven Finkelstein, Hon. Katherine Levine and Hon. Ellen Spodek.

“Every time he came to Shul, he sat in the front and had a huge smile on his face,” Levenson said. “For a rabbi, it’s always a big deal for someone to sit in the front with a smile and who is not sleeping. I always appreciated him.”

Justice Spodek explained that it was her father’s death that caused the society to miss an event in the late fall, but that, thanks to the board, the group is ready to head into the new year with a series of events planned.

“I’m sure you know that this has been a difficult time for me since the holidays,” Justice Spodek said. “I’m sorry it took so long for us to have an event this year. We’re back on track thanks to our wonderful board.”

From left: Hon. Katherine Levine, Hon. Ellen Spodek, Richard Klass, Hon. Jeffrey Sunshine, Hon. Anne Swern, Hon. Miriam Cyrulnik, Doron Leiby, Jeffrey Miller and Hon. Esther Morgenstern.

Justice Spodek did thank Steve Cohn and Hon. Katherine Levine for helping to provide the decorations and donuts for Monday’s event.

Rabbi Levenson was joined by rabbis Aaron Raskin and his son Eliyahu Raskin. The younger rabbi spoke briefly and talked about the significance of the menorah during Chanukah.

“Every day on Chanukah, if you walk down the street in Brooklyn Heights, you will see these beautiful menorahs shining from the window,” Eliyahu Raskin said. “Or at Borough Hall you will sometimes see these massive menorahs outside. Why are they outside? The reason why we do this is based on a beautiful story of the Chabad Rebbe.”

Rabbi Aaron Raskin (left) and Michael Farkas.

Looking ahead, members of the Brandeis Society will take part in an event hosted by the Jewish National Fund, the Lawyers for Israel Luncheon, on Jan. 22 at 12:45 p.m. at the Brooklyn Bar Association.

That event will be a gathering of Jewish legal professionals to discuss how they can have a direct role in connecting the next generation of Jews to Israel. The guest speaker will be Deborah Riegel.

“Our next program will be on Jan. 22 and it will be sponsored by the Jewish National Fund,” Justice Spodek said. “They are a wonderful organization that does more than just planting trees in Israel. That’s how most people know them. I think my father has donated an entire forest.”

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