Patoka, Kamenetz and Almond Light Menorah at Chanukah House Celebration

Block party, holiday environment drew together the diverse populations of the area for a unique celebration.

More than 250 people showed up tonight for The Chanukah House celebration and menorah lighting at Yitz and Sora Fleischman's house on Greenspring Road.

Among them were Israel "Izzy" Patoka, executive director of The Governor's Office of Community Initiatives; County Executive-elect Kevin Kamenetz, and District 2 County Councilman-elect Vicki Almond. Each lit a candle on the 4-foot central menorah made of Lucite. Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson assisted with the ceremony.

It sounds like a formal event, and in ceremony it was. But moreso it was a block party, a celebration held outside the Fleischman's overly-decorated house, yard and driveway.

Most importantly, it was a genuinely Pikesville event, and a gathering not likely to be experienced in any other part of the country. 

It was a unique mix of people — from Orthodox Jews to Reform Jews and Christians — attending the celebration for the second night of Chanukah.

Children and adults alike milled about and marveled at the extensive, brightly lit kitsch that adorned the property, and they were still and silent during the reverence of the lighting ceremony.

There were so many people, and so many motorists passing by to take a look, that Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson, who was among those invited to lead the lighting ceremony, called for some traffic control.

"It's great to see them coming together to celebrate the holidays," Johnson said.

Geoffrey Hoffman of Reisterstown came to see the house with Sara, his wife, and their son Hayden and daughter Maya. But the family had not anticipated such a large crowd, or that there would be state and county VIPs attending.

"It was a great experience," Hoffman said. "It is nice to bring our children out to see the holiday lights, certainly, but to see Chanukah lights as well is great for the kids."


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