Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

500 attend Chanukah on Ice in Clearwater


Westfield Countryside mall was in a Christmas frenzy Sunday evening, with shoppers scurrying for last-minute presents and parents scheduling pictures with Santa.

But at the ice skating rink, it was all about Hanukkah.

About 500 people from around the Tampa Bay area attended the third annual Chanukah on Ice Celebration on Sunday evening. The event was hosted by Young Israel-Chabad of Pinellas County in Palm Harbor.

It was the largest turnout yet, said Rabbi Levi Hodakov, Chabad program director.

"Word has gotten around that this is the place to celebrate Hanukkah," Hodakov said.

Peggy Schott of Dunedin said the event was a perfect way for families to start the holiday.

"It's a wonderful thing because there are so many Christmas things, but nothing for Jewish children to be excited about," said Schott, while her 7-year-old grandson Ben snacked on a latke with applesauce.

Kids skated around a 9-foot inflatable menorah to traditional holiday songs while their parents shopped or had a bite to eat. Hundreds gathered around the skating rink to sing blessings when the menorah was lighted.

The event kicked off the eight-day Hanukkah celebration. Also known as the Festival of Lights, the holiday commemorates when Jews reclaimed the Holy Temple in Israel. They found only a day's worth of oil to light their menorah, but the oil burned for eight days.

Chabad director Rabbi Shalom Adler dedicated the ceremony to the victims of last month's terrorist attacks in Bombay, India, which took the lives of Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivkah, of the Mumbai Chabad House.

"The more light we can create here tonight, the more darkness we can dispel in this world," he said.

Dr. Aron Schlau, of Palm Harbor Medical Associates, who sponsored the event and lighted the menorah, said he hoped the children left with a greater respect for their history and spirituality. Schlau's father spent time in a Romanian concentration camp before ultimately immigrating to the United States, he said. "It almost cost my dad his life. So to be in this country, to be able to practice your heritage in the open without repercussions, it's a beautiful thing," said Schlau, 47.

Rita Farlow can be reached at or (727) 445-4162.

if you go

Menorah lighting

Young Israel-Chabad of Pinellas County will have a menorah lighting at 6:30 p.m. today at Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach. For information, visit

500 attend Chanukah on Ice in Clearwater 12/21/08 [Last modified: Sunday, December 21, 2008 10:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Record $417 million awarded in lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer


    LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a hospitalized woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

    A bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a Los Angeles County Superior Court spokeswoman confirmed that a jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in a case to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene. [Associated Press]
  2. Search under way for missing sailors; Navy chief orders inquiry


    SINGAPORE — The U.S. Navy ordered a broad investigation Monday into the performance and readiness of the Pacific-based 7th Fleet after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters, leaving 10 U.S. sailors missing and others injured.

    Damage is visible as the USS John S. McCain steers toward Singapore’s naval base on Monday.
  3. Told not to look, Donald Trump looks at the solar eclipse


    Of course he looked.

    Monday's solar eclipse — life-giving, eye-threatening, ostensibly apolitical — summoned the nation's First Viewer to the Truman Balcony of the White House around 2:38 p.m. Eastern time.

    The executive metaphor came quickly.

    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump view the solar eclipse from the Truman balcony of the White House, in Washington, Aug. 21, 2017. [Al Drago | New York Times]
  4. Secret Service says it will run out of money to protect Trump and his family Sept. 30


    WASHINGTON — The Secret Service said Monday that it has enough money to cover the cost of protecting President Donald Trump and his family through the end of September, but after that the agency will hit a federally mandated cap on salaries and overtime unless Congress intervenes.

    Secret service agents walk with President Donald Trump after a ceremony to welcome the 2016 NCAA Football National Champions the Clemson Tigers on the South Lawn of the White House on June 12, 2017. [Olivier Douliery | Sipa USA via TNS]
  5. After fraught debate, Trump to disclose new Afghanistan plan


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will unveil his updated Afghanistan policy Monday night in a rare, prime-time address to a nation that broadly shares his pessimism about American involvement in the 16-year conflict. Although he may send a few thousand more troops, there are no signs of a major shift in …

    U.S. soldiers patrol the perimeter of a weapons cache near the U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2003. Sixteen years of U.S. warfare in Afghanistan have left the insurgents as strong as ever and the nation's future precarious. Facing a quagmire, President Donald Trump on Monday will outline his strategy for a country that has historically snared great powers and defied easy solutions.  [Associated Press (2003)]