By Scott Enman
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Hundreds gathered at the FDNY’s Brooklyn headquarters at 9 MetroTech Center on Wednesday night to celebrate the fifth night of Hanukkah and to pay tribute to three FDNY members who lost their lives during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“They are three of the 343 members who made the supreme sacrifice, giving their own lives so that others could live,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. “It is important to be with your family at this time, and our FDNY family is no exception.”
The three members who passed away were Alan Feinberg of Battalion 9, Stephen Belson of Battalion 7 and David Weiss of Rescue 1.
The daughter of Feinberg, along with several other significant members of the FDNY, individually lit each light on the menorah.
In addition to Nigro, Executive Officer to the First Deputy Commissioner Captain Mark Guerra and Chief of Department James Leonard provided remarks. FDNY Chaplain Rabbi Joseph Potasnik provided the invocation.
Both the American and Israeli national anthems were sung at the start of the ceremony. Associate Director of Yeshiva University’s Belz School of Jewish Music Cantor Eric S. Freeman performed the Israeli national anthem.
He also led the room in a group singing of “Maoz Tzur” and “I Have a Little Dreidel,” among other songs.
In addition to singing, attendees said prayers and awards were given out.
“This menorah is special in two ways,” said Nigro. “Number one, it’s an electric menorah, and as the fire department, we must practice what we preach. Number two, it pays tribute to three fallen members of the FDNY who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”
The moving story was also told of how a group of New York architects created a platform for a nine-foot-high menorah so that it could be equal in height to a 20-foot-high Christmas tree that was placed at ground zero following 9/11.
Deputy Consul General of Israel in New York Amir Sagie revealed to the crowd that the FDNY recently provided insight to Israel on how to fight a series of wildfires that broke out across the country earlier this month.
Although FDNY officials weren’t able to literally fight the flames due to their physical distance, they were able to provide advice on how to battle the blazes.
“It’s important for Israel to know that the FDNY is so supportive,” said Sagie.